The Twins all winter have been angling to improve their rotation. They hotly pursued Yu Darvish, who recently inked with the Cubs, and Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb remain potential free agent targets. Another option for Minnesota is dipping into the trade market. On that front, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins have recently spoken to the Rays regarding right-hander Chris Archer. Neal's story also names the young hitter the Rays may be targeting in return for Archer

Archer, who's going into his age-29 season, is coming off a 2017 campaign in which he pitched to a 101 ERA+ and 4.15 K/BB ratio in 201 innings for the Rays. For his career, he's pitched to a 108 ERA+ across parts of six big-league seasons. The two-time All-Star has also topped 200 innings in each of the last three seasons. Also appealing from the team perspective is that Archer is under contract through 2021 (assuming his two options are exercised) at a total cost of roughly $35 million. However, those bargain prices mean that the cost in trade will be high and that the Twins will have plenty of competitors trying to cut a deal with the Rays. 

The Twins are of course coming off a surprise playoff appearance in 2017, and they'd like to contend once again this year. Minnesota has an impressive young core of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Jose Berrios, and that's in addition to useful veteran returnees such as Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, and Ervin Santana. As well, top prospects Nick Gordon and Stephen Gonzalves should be ready to help at the highest level at some point in 2018. They badly need some innings and some swing-and-miss in the rotation. Archer, obviously, would meet those needs.