This past Saturday, the Cleveland Guardians signed right-hander Carlos Carrasco to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
As you know, Carrasco has a long history with the Guardians: he made his MLB debut there and pitched for parts of 11 seasons, leaving a solid 88-73 record and a 3.77 ERA.
He finished in the top-15 in the American League Cy Young award voting twice with the Guardians in the 2010s, including a fourth-place finish in 2017.
Carrasco was big in Cleveland.
Now, however, he will turn 37 before the start of the season and is a shell of his former self.
He is coming off a disappointing three-year stint with the New York Mets in which he had a 5.21 ERA.
The Guardians are taking a chance on his right arm and hope he is healthy.
He suffered a number of injuries in New York, the most recent one being a fractured finger on his right hand that ended his season in September.
Carrasco struggled badly in 2023, with a 6.80 ERA, a 1.70 WHIP, and a 66/38 K/BB ratio in 90 innings (20 starts).
However, he is reportedly healthy now and could compete in spring training for a spot in the Guardians’ crowded rotation.
MLB insider Buster Olney revealed the details of the deal.
“Carlos Carrasco’s deal with the Guardians includes a base salary of $2 million if he’s on the big-league team,” he tweeted.
Carlos Carrasco's deal with the Guardians includes a base salary of $2 million if he's on the big-league team.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 28, 2024
Expecting Carrasco to be a 200-inning, mid-3.00s ERA stalwart like he was in the 2010s would be a mistake at this point.
MLB teams, even those with a quality staff already like the Guardians, need a lot of depth and having Carrasco around at that price doesn’t hurt.
He will be behind in the competition, though, as Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie, Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams, Logan Allen, and Xzavion Curry are all ahead of him.
If Carrasco is right and in form in the spring, however, the organization could start the season with one of the youngsters in the minors.