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Twins sign veteran Chris Archer as potential rotation boost

Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 04: Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch during the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field on September 04, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Chris Archer and the Minnesota Twins agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, a potential boost for their rotation with a two-time All-Star who’s coming off an injury-ruined season.

He has a $2.75 million salary, and the deal includes a $10 million mutual option for 2023 with a $750,000 buyout. He can earn an additional $6 million this year in performance bonuses based on one point for each start or relief appearance of at least three innings: $250,000 each for 12 and 14, $500,000 apiece for 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24, and $750,000 each for 26, 28, 30 and 32.

The 33-year-old Archer made five starts and one relief appearance for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, posting a 4.66 ERA in 19 1/3 innings. He was sidelined for the majority of the season with tightness in his right forearm.

Archer has a career 3.87 ERA with 1,370 strikeouts in 1,254 1/3 innings and a .240 opponent batting average. He was third in AL Rookie of the Year voting for the Rays in 2013 and fifth in Cy Young Award balloting in 2015.

The Rays traded Archer at the 2018 deadline to the Pittsburgh Pirates. After missing the 2020 season due to injury, Archer returned to the Rays as a free agent last year.

Archer could slot in Minnesota’s rotation behind Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober and Dylan Bundy. Ober made 20 starts as a rookie last season, and Ryan made five starts in his debut. Gray was acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, and Bundy was signed as a free agent after leaving the Los Angeles Angels.

To open a spot for Archer on the 40-man roster, the Twins sent left-hander Lewis Thorpe outright to Triple-A St. Paul.