The Indians are close to locking up one big rotation piece in Corey Kluber, and the team is also discussing an extension with another in righty Carlos Carrasco, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Carrasco just recently celebrated his 28th birthday and was arbitration-eligible for the first time this past winter, avoiding a hearing by agreeing to a one-year, $2.337MM contract for the 2015 season.
A multi-year deal would represent a stunningly quick career resurrection for Carrasco, who posted a 5.29 ERA over his first four seasons (238 1/3 IP) with the Tribe and struggled last April, losing his starting job and even getting designated for assignment last summer. The right-hander turned things around in the bullpen with a 2.30 ERA over 43 relief innings and then returned to the rotation with astonishing results. Over his last 10 starts of 2014, Carrasco was arguably the best pitcher in baseball, posting a 1.30 ERA and 78 strikeouts (against just 11 walks) over 69 innings.
Given Carrasco’s rocky career numbers and notable injury history (he missed all of 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery), it’s difficult to project exactly what an extension might look like for the ACES client. From the Tribe’s perspective, they’re obviously looking to gain cost certainty on Carrasco’s future now and potentially gain a front-of-the-rotation arm at a discount price over a free agent year or two if he performs anything close to the level of his last 10 starts.
It’s possible Carrasco could want to strike while the iron is hot and gain financial security, even if he might be leaving money on the table. Conversely, a full season of solid pitching would earn Carrasco a big arbitration raise next winter and line him up nicely for either an even richer extension with Cleveland or as a free agent following the 2017 season.