Carlos Carrasco’s health situation was one of MLB’s most-followed off-field storylines in 2019. Stunningly diagnosed with leukemia this summer, Carrasco made a heartwarming return to the mound September 1 in Tampa Bay and has made ten appearances out of Cleveland’s bullpen since. The 32 year-old father of five verbalized the ups-and-downs of the past five months in an emotional piece for the Players’ Tribune, emphasizing the importance of leaning on his wife Karelis, other family, and friends- inside and outside baseball- for support along the way. Encouragingly, the well-respected Carrasco says he’s “back to feeling 100%” and no doubt figures to be a foundational piece for both the Indians and the Cleveland community at large in the future. The moving and courageous piece, in which Carrasco discusses the gutwrenching decision he and Karelis confronted of whether to tell their children of his diagnosis, is worth a full read.
- Turning to strictly on-field matters across the American League, it seems Trent Thornton has pitched his way into the Blue Jays’ rotation plans for 2020, writes Kaitlyn McGrath of the Athletic. The rookie overcame a dreadful start to his MLB career to log a team-high 154.1 innings, working to a 4.84 ERA with pedestrian strikeout (22%) and walk (9%) rates. As McGrath notes, Thornton’s changeup has given him problems in the past and developing consistency with the offering will be among his offseason priorities. Thornton’s profile doesn’t scream future ace, but his durability and high-spin fastball and curveball make him a logical fit for a Toronto rotation that is lacking in certainty and rich in opportunity.
- Another rookie who could be positioned for playing time on a rebuilding team is Tigers infielder Willi Castro. A September call-up, Castro hasn’t gotten off to an especially rousing start to his MLB career. He has, though, impressed manager Ron Gardenhire, who tells Chris McCosky of the Detroit News Castro will have a chance to compete for the Tigers’ shortstop job in spring training. The 22 year-old, whom Detroit acquired from Cleveland in 2018 for Leonys Martín, ranks as Detroit’s #11 prospect, per Baseball America. He hit a solid .301/.366/.467 this season in his first extended action in Triple-A.
- On the opposite side of the service time spectrum is Orioles DH Mark Trumbo, who discussed the forthcoming end of his three-year contract with Baltimore Baseball’s Rich Dubroff. The 33 year-old tells Dubroff he’ll take some time off at the end of the season and gauge how his body feels before determining if he wishes to come back in 2020. So continues a pattern of noncommital responses on his future from Trumbo, who has been hampered by right knee problems for the last year-plus. That injury history means Trumbo will probably have to settle for a minor-league contract with a spring training invite if he does decide to give playing another go.