Archer: Pirates organization committed to winning

New Bucs righty to make debut Friday

Josh Rowntree
August 01, 2018 - 6:30 pm
Pirates righty Chris Archer at introductory press conference

Josh Rowntree

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The Pirates acquired Chris Archer at the trade deadline, a deal they feel will help win games as the season enters the home stretch. It might win back some of the team’s fanbase as well. Now, Archer is going to try to do his part. 

He’s off to a good start, acquiring an Antonio Brown jersey at the airport on his way in. Talking about his mom’s love of the Steelers, despite not being from Pittsburgh. Saying that he respects Andrew McCutchen too much to take his number, 22, this year. Adding he will warm up to Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa’s hit “Black and Yellow.” 

Those are all good ways to connect with those who will, in short time, being cheering for the 29-year old from North Carolina. 

“From the city, based off social media and flying in today, walking through the airport, everybody knows who I am, people are very excited,” he said. “It’s energizing.”

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has wanted Archer for some time. Really wanted him. To the point that he wanted Archer to pitch in Wednesday night’s game against the Cubs (he’ll make his debut Friday against St. Louis instead).

“I didn’t realize how interested the Pirates were in me until I heard in Neal’s voice the passion, the joy, the excitement that was there to have me on board,” Archer said.

“And then, not too long after, I got a call from ownership. You don’t get a lot of calls from ownership. It just meant a lot for everyone to take time out of their day to welcome me and show how much they want me here.”

Archer went into a social media blackout and stayed away from television around the deadline, having been caught up in it the previous three seasons when he was rumored to be on the trade block. Now that the dust has settled, he sounds like a player already making himself at home. 

“It’s a blue collar city,” he added. “It’s roll up your sleeves and go to work. That’s how I was raised. My dad worked in hardwood floors his whole life. He laid hardwood floors, on his hands and knees, to provide for me. That’s where I learned my work ethic.”

Archer brings in a somewhat misleading 4.31 ERA to Pittsburgh, having played in multiple hitter-friendly ballparks like Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, and against the likes of the big-hitting AL East while with the Tampa Rays.

“It’s Major League Baseball, man,” he said. “Anybody with a bat in their hand is dangerous. So, there’s no sense of relief.

“I’m never going to let me guard down, regardless of the park or league. If I go out and face high school hitters, I’m not going to let my guard down. It doesn’t change my mindset at all. If anything, I want to me more aggressive because the last thing I want is to be passive.”

Archer joked about the jubilant Twitter displays by some of his new teammates. He’s also looking forward to embracing Pittsburgh with those he's played with in the past.

“I heard a lot of good things from Corey Dickerson,” he said. “A lot of good things from Josh Harrison, Sean Rodriguez. These are all my former teammates who I’ve trusted and confided in. When they told me this place is special, I believed it.”

The Pirates, in the thick of the National League wild card race, traded for Archer and former Rangers reliever Keone Kela in hopes of making a strong push to close the year. Archer is aware and ready to contribute.

“The Pirates organization, in general, they’re committed to winning,” he said. “They went through a lot of changes this offseason and got a lot of scrutiny, but I feel like they reversed that with the way that they played.”

“The ownership and the front office stepped up with the couple moves they made here at the deadline. So, I’m stoked. It’s been a while since I played winning, meaningful baseball. And that’s why you play, to win.”

Hear Chris Archer’s introductory press conference below.