RUMOURS AT THE TOP

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The most desirable pitcher to appear in trade rumors this winter is Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer. But since he's all but disappeared from the rumor mill, Chris Archer will have to do in his stead.

By sending Longoria to the Giants, the Rays have already shown they're open to dealing their franchise cornerstones. As a two-time All-Star who's only 29 and signed for cheap through 2021, Archer is a prime candidate to go next.

Provided a suitor can meet the Rays' asking price, of course. For that, the Rays can look to equal or exceed the haul that the White Sox got for Jose Quintana last July. Teams that might oblige are...

      

3. New York Yankees

According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Yankees were looking at Archer around the same time they were looking at Gerrit Cole in December. 

Cole ended up with the Houston Astros instead. The Yankees can't be happy about that, as the Astros are the team they have to go through to get to the World Series. In a chat with MLB Network Radio's Casey Stern, Yankees GM Brian Cashman referred to them as a "beast" that must be dealt with.

A trade for Archer would be a fine way for the Yankees to respond to Houston's acquisition of Cole. The catch is that they'd have to live with some of their best prospects moving to an AL East rival.

      

2. Atlanta Braves

Archer was a hot topic during the winter meetings. According to Topkin, the Braves were doing some of the talking.

They're certainly not lacking in elite young arms. What they do lack is an established ace to front their rotation in 2018 and beyond. It would be understandable if they concluded that satisfying that need were worth sacrificing some of their prospect depth.

Either that, or they could be patient and let their young arms mature. 

           

1. Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are another team that Topkin linked to Archer during the winter meetings. The only thing to say to that is, "Darn right."

The Brewers' rotation isn't without upside. Chase Anderson is coming off a breakout year. Jimmy Nelson is as well, and is said by MLB.com's Adam McCalvy to be "way" ahead of schedule in his return from shoulder surgery. Rounding things out are solid arms belonging to Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin.

Still, a 200-inning, 200-strikeout machine like Archer would look awfully good in Milwaukee. He would help the close the gap between the Brewers and the Cardinals and Cubs in the NL Central. As far as excuses for them to dip into their excellent farm system go, that's the best there is.

           

Others: Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins

           

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. Contract and payroll data courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

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