The surging Pittsburgh Pirates are intent on making a run at a playoff spot.
The Pirates bolstered the front end of their rotation at the non-waiver deadline on Tuesday, adding Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer while sending the Rays a couple of coveted prospects in outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named.
Archer, a two-time All-Star, is 3-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 17 starts this season for the Rays. The 29-year-old gives the Pirates a significant jolt in experience in a rotation that includes three starters —— Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove —— 26 or younger.
The move is the second significant trade by the Pirates ahead of the non-waiver deadline. Pittsburgh acquired Texas Rangers closer Keone Kela early Tuesday for left-handed pitching prospect Taylor Hearn and a player to be named. The trades came at the end of a torrid 15-4 run by the club that pulled Pittsburgh within 3½ games of a wild-card spot heading into a two-game set with the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
Pittsburgh, which was the only team to not sign a free agent during the offseason despite parting with established stars Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, assumes the remaining $2,049,731 in Archer’s $6.25 million salary.
Archer receives a $500,000 assignment bonus for the trade. His deal includes a $7.5 million salary for 2019, a $9 million team option for 2020 with a $1.75 million buyout and an $11 million club option for 2021 with a $250,000 buyout.
The Pirates, who have been reluctant to part with young prospects in recent years at the deadline, gave up a pair of promising talents in Meadows and Glasnow.
Meadows, a first-round pick in the 2013 draft, hit .292 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 49 for the Pirates after making his major league debut on May 17. The 24-year-old Glasnow dominated as a starter in the minors but struggled as a starter during his first season-plus in Pittsburgh, going 2-7 with a 7.69 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) in 2017.
The Pirates moved Glasnow to the bullpen this season with better results. The 6-foot-8 right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA in 34 appearances.
AP Baseball Writer Ron Blum contributed to this report.