As rumors fly regarding the possibility of the Indians dealing one of their outstanding starting pitchers, there’s an interesting new wrinkle. The club is discussing a new contract with Carlos Carrasco, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links).
Details aren’t known, but the Indians obviously see an opportunity to achieve yet more value with Carrasco, a player who has contributed plenty to the organization over the years. He previously inked a four-year, $22MM pact that included two options and has worked out quite favorably for the club. Carrasco has turned in 722 innings of 3.40 ERA ball since putting pen to paper, with advanced metrics suggesting he has been even better than the results alone would indicate.
That contract still has two years left to go; he’ll earn just $9.75MM in 2019, while the club also possesses a 2020 option priced at $9.5MM (with the potential to rise by up to $4MM based upon Cy Young Award-driven escalators). Given that Carrasco is already 31 years of age, he obviously is not working from the strongest position of leverage in talks. Given that he’s discussing another long-term deal with the club, though, it also seems fair to presume that he truly wishes to remain with the only organization he has pitched for at the MLB level.
As this news confirms, but was already evident, the Indians aren’t in a full-blown selling stance. The club still profiles as a massive favorite in the American League Central and is no doubt hard at work thinking of ways to challenge the other top dogs in the AL. Rather, the Indians are trying to pull off a series of moves that will not only leave them in excellent shape for 2019, but will enhance their long-term sustainability.
If a new deal comes together, Carrasco would obviously not be marketed this winter. That’d leave Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer as potentially massive trade chips for the Indians to cash in for younger, controllable position players at an area of need. It’s not hard to see the appeal behind that concept, particularly given the still-impressive pitching depth in the organization. But doubling down on the existing investment in Carrasco is another intriguing avenue for achieving long-term value.