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Kevin Gorman’s Take 5: Reactions to the Pittsburgh Pirates trading for Chris Archer

August 6, 2018

Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison reacts after being hit by a Chris Archer pitch during the first inning against the Rays Thursday, June 29, 2017, at PNC Park.

The Pittsburgh Pirates players were in the weight room at PNC Park, watching trade talk on ESPN, when they saw the news come across the scroll.

They got Chris Archer.

The Pirates pulled off a nonwaiver trade deadline deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for the front-line starting pitcher, in exchange for pitcher Tyler Glasnow, outfielder Austin Meadows and a “significant player” to be named later, as general manager Neal Huntington put it.

That led to an awkward moment for Jameson Taillon, who was slated to start Tuesday night against the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs but was excitedly distracted by trade-deadline rumors.

“I follow this kind of stuff. I’m into it,” Taillon said. “I kept refreshing my Twitter feed. I was talking about it with guys, going around and asking trainers, ‘Are you looking at medicals? What are you looking at? What are you guys up to?’ I’m really interested in this kind of stuff, so I had fun with it. My heart was racing, I think.”

When word spread the Archer trade was finalized, Taillon had mixed emotions.

“I don’t think I had a reaction because I was standing next to Meadows the whole time, which was kind of weird,” Taillon said. “That’s the game, I guess, the game of life. People come and go and you make the most of it.”

Here are five reactions by the Pirates to pulling off the blockbuster:

1. Back-of-ball-card good

Manager Clint Hurdle was asked in his post-game interview after the 5-4 victory Tuesday over the Cubs about Archer, and he didn’t hold back.

“My goodness, we’ve just added a really good pitcher,” Hurdle said. “And he’s good all over the place. He’s athletic. He’s got a pedigree. The back of the ball card looks pretty good. I checked it out. He competes (with) pitch sequencing. He’s also very cerebral, doesn’t want a lot of info when he pitches. He’s just a very smart guy.”

Hurdle also picked the brain of outfielder Corey Dickerson, a former Archer teammate acquired in February from the Rays.

“Dickerson’s had a real good relationship with him over the years,” Hurdle said. “He painted a real good picture for us on the man and the pitcher. We’re really happy we got the man we got, and we’re also really happy we got the pitcher we got. You put him in the rotation with the experience he’s got, and it makes us stronger.”

2. Corey Dickerson is pumped

Dickerson doesn’t just think the world of Archer, he told the Pirates that Archer was worth whatever price the Rays were asking.

The Pirates drew that line at pitcher Mitch Keller, their No. 1 prospect, but loved the idea of adding Archer to the rotation with Taillon, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove.

“He’s an innings eater. He grinds. He’s the horse out there. That’s what the young guys can learn,” Dickerson said. “Archer always wants to leave an impression. Those young guys can follow and pick and choose what they want to learn from him. … Archer has knowledge mentally and athletically that I feel he can pass along to those guys.

“No matter if he does bad or good, he’s always a cheerleader for the team. He comes out, he cheers for the team. He’s the guy on the front step, congratulating the starter every time. Huge out, he’s the first guy on the step. You’ll see him out there in the dirt, giving you a high five. It’s the little things the media and fans don’t see in the clubhouse, where guys lean on him and you can come to him about anything communication-wise. It’s hard to keep bragging on a guy, but he’s just a good dude, nothing more, nothing less. We’re all going to benefit from having him, both sides. It’s more about what he brings.”

3. Davis Dickerson is pumped, too

That would be Corey’s 3 1⁄2-year-old son, who has a daily routine with his father called “Thumbs up, Buttercup.”

“Me and my son do that every day, kind of a good luck thing. We end on good luck and hit each other’s thumbs,” Dickerson said. “Ever since last year, Archer does it with my son when he comes into the clubhouse, and me and Archer do it before the game. We’re kind of close in that facet of our families. When he made the All-Star Game, my son made a video for him and told him congratulations. I’m ready to see what my son will say.”

4. Thinking long term/short term

The departure of Meadows also could be a sign the Pirates want to keep Dickerson here through at least his arbitration year but perhaps even longer. Dickerson is open to an extension, as he’s embraced being a Pirate because they’ve allowed him to be himself.

“That’s definitely all up to them, but to have the opportunity to stay here and Archer being here, with the team in general and what we’ve produced this year is exciting to me,” Dickerson said. “I’ve really enjoyed playing here. I love it here, and I look forward to playing each and every day in a Pirates uniform.

“Whatever comes to be in the futures comes, but I’m hoping we do something special this year.”

5. No room at the inn

Archer was a former teammate and roommate of Josh Harrison when they were playing in the low-A minors for the Cincinnati Reds, before both were traded.

“I know what we’re getting in Archer, and they know what we’re getting in Archer,” Harrison said. “He’s a guy that’s going to blend in really well. A lot of emotion, energy — something that I think will be welcomed in this clubhouse; as you know, we’ve got a lot of guys who play with a lot of energy and emotion. He’s a guy that has fun and plays to win.”

Just don’t expect Archer to stay with the Harrisons.

“Last time, I didn’t have any baggage,” Harrison said. “Now I’ve got a wife, two kids and a dog, so he might be better off staying in a hotel.”

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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