MLB: Three highest upside free agents and possible landing spots

Free agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons.. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Free agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons.. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Chris Archer is one of many MLB players who did not have his option picked up after the World Series.

MLB teams looking for cheaper starting rotation options will have plenty of bounce-back arms to choose from with names like James Paxton, Alex Wood, Cole Hamels, and many more on the market, but one free agent pitcher with a high upside to watch for is Chris Archer.

Archer did not pitch in 2020 after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and is now a free agent after the Pittsburgh Pirates expectedly refused to pick up his $11 million option for 2021.

Now 32, Archer is going to have to sign a prove-it deal to show he can still be a productive starting pitcher, but he’s someone worth taking a chance on.

From 2016-2018, Archer was worth 10.0 fWAR and recorded a sub-4.00 FIP in each season, while keeping his walk rate just below his career-rate of 8%. He has spent the vast majority of his MLB career successfully navigating the American League East and there are a few reasons why some believe he’s primed for a bounce-back, if he’s healthy.

Incorporating more four-seamers and sliders into his repertoire and fewer two-seamers while with Pittsburg led to an improved second-half of 2019 and a strong month of August where he did not allow a home run and posted a 1.05 FIP and 35.5% strikeout rate in 18 innings.

Plenty of MLB teams need starting pitching, but Texas could be a potential landing spot for Chris Archer. The Rangers have been interested in him before and need multiple starting pitchers to fill out their rotation, especially if they deal Lance Lynn this offseason.

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There will be plenty of valuable low-cost options available to MLB teams this offseason, but these three free agents have some of the bigger upsides and potential for a strong 2021 season.