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Archer top trade candidate for Braves, per report

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MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are now more likely to target Chris Archer than Chris Sale if they land a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Chris Sale has seemingly been the Atlanta Braves’ top pitching target this offseason, but a recent report from MLB.com’s Mark Bowman indicates that the team is now more likely to land Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer:

It’s no surprise that the team seems uncomfortable with what the Rays are asking for their 28-year-old righty. Even after coming off a disappointing 2016 season (where he posted a 4.02 ERA), Archer is among the league’s top young arms and is under contract with an absurdly team-friendly five year deal.

Bowman went on to explain why the Braves and White Sox haven’t been able to find much common ground in a potential Chris Sale swap:

Given how important Dansby Swanson is to Atlanta’s rebuild it’s no surprise that the team has balked at sending him to the Windy City. At the same time though, it makes sense that Chicago is asking for Swanson as the headliner to any deal involving Sale. The team is reportedly doing the same with the Nationals by asking for Trea Turner.

While the price tag for Archer seems to be less than that of Sale, the Rays are rightly also asking for a big package. The Braves have the farm system and young talent to make a trade like that happen, but with Swanson off the table, both the Rays and the White Sox are going to be less interested in dealing an ace to Atlanta.

We’ll keep you updated as the trade rumors continue to unfold.