The Mets have placed Carlos Carrasco on waivers, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The right-hander is one of several players to go on waivers today, as teams out of the postseason picture attempt to shed payroll. If another team claims Carrasco, they will be responsible for the prorated portion of his $14MM salary. He is set to become a free agent after the season.
Following a resurgent 2022 campaign, Carrasco has struggled in 2023. In 20 starts, he is averaging less than five innings per game, while pitching to a 6.80 ERA and 5.17 SIERA. The 36-year-old has run into particular trouble since the All-Star break, with a 10.24 ERA in his last eight starts. Given his rough performance, it seems unlikely that any team will be willing to take on his remaining salary, but it’s possible a contending club in need of rotation depth will take a chance on the veteran. He is only one year removed from a season in which he made 29 starts with a 3.97 ERA.
Revocable waivers no longer exist, so these are either outright or release waivers. If Carrasco goes unclaimed, there’s a chance he could become a free agent either way. As a 14-year MLB veteran, he has more than enough service time under his belt to reject an outright assignment without sacrificing any salary. Thus, this could mark the end of his time with the Mets. He has been with the organization for three seasons, having come over from Cleveland in 2021 as part of the trade that brought Francisco Lindor to New York. In 61 starts, he has pitched to a disappointing 5.21 ERA but a much more respectable 4.25 SIERA.
With a payroll far north of the highest competitive balance tax threshold, the Mets aren’t making this move with the luxury tax in mind. Still, given the tens of millions of dollars the team is paying to players no longer on the roster (including Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Robinson Cano), it’s understandable that Steve Cohen and Billy Eppler are looking for a little payroll relief.
New York has several arms available to take over for Carrasco in the rotation if need be, including right-handers José Butto and Denyi Reyes and left-hander Joey Lucchesi. All three are on the 40-man roster and have made at least two starts this season for the big league club. Lucchesi seems to be the most likely candidate; in six starts for the Mets, he has a 2.54 ERA in 28 innings pitched.