TODAY: Carrasco will earn a base salary of $2MM if he makes the Guardians’ active roster, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes.
It’s a reunion between the sides, as Carrasco first joined Cleveland in a trade with the Phillies back in 2009 and made his big league debut shortly thereafter. The righty spent more than a decade with the club, pitching to a 3.77 ERA and 3.42 FIP across 1,242 1/3 innings of work in Cleveland. While he struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness early in his tenure with the club, Carrasco eventually settled in to become a quality mid-rotation arm for the club and even earned votes for the AL Cy Young award in both 2015 and 2017. On the heels of a strong 2020 season where Carrasco pitched to a 2.91 ERA across 12 starts, the veteran right-hander was included alongside Francisco Lindor in the blockbuster deal that brought Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene to Cleveland.
Upon joining Lindor in Queens, the then-34-year-old Carrasco quickly began to struggle. Though he posted solid back-of-the-rotation numbers for the Mets in 2022, both the 2021 and 2023 seasons saw Carrasco post ERAs north of 6.00 while managing less than 100 innings of work due to injuries. As Carrasco has entered his mid-thirties, it’s become increasingly difficult for the righty to stay on the field. He battled a hamstring strain and an elbow procedure in 2021, an oblique strain in 2022, and in 2023 suffered from both a bone spur in his elbow and a late-season finger fracture.
Now headed into his age-37 season with a 4.87 ERA in 443 2/3 innings of work dating back to the 2019 season, it’s fair to wonder how much the veteran hurler still has left in the tank. With that being said, bringing a longtime of the club back into the fold on a minor league deal is an incredibly low-risk decision for the Guardians to make. Even if Carrasco is unable to return to the form he flashed in 2022 and provide the club with quality back-of-the-rotation production, bringing a beloved veteran of 14 big league seasons into the club for Spring Training can only help Cleveland’s young rotation arms (such as Tanner Bibee and Gavin Williams) as they look to improve upon strong rookie performances in their sophomore seasons.