The big baseball news of the day yesterday, was the contract extensions signed by Yordano Ventura and Corey Kluber. Now, the Indians appear to be working towards an extension with another of their big rotation pieces. Ken Rosenthal reports via Twitter that the Indians are also talking to right-hander Carlos Carraso about an extension.
Sources: #Indians, Kluber closing in on long-term agreement. Indians also talking to Carrasco about deal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 4, 2015
Carrasco was one of the pieces in the deal that sent Cliff Lee to the Phillies in 2009. The 28-year old Carrasco had been a disappointment in his first four Major League seasons, pitching to a 5.29 ERA in 238.1 innings. He also struggled last April, and was designated for assignment before returning with a vengeance later in the season. Carrasco finished the season with an 8-7 record and 2.30 ERA in 134.0 innings spread across starting and relief duties. His final ten appearances of the season came as a starter, and over those starts, he was arguably the best pitcher in baseball with a 1.30 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 69.0 innings.
Carrasco was arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and settled with the Indians for $2.337 million. Attempting to sign him to an extension would allow the Indians to, hopefully, buy out the remainder of his arbitration years at a discount. Projecting Carrasco forward as an ace is difficult, given the small sample size, but if Carrasco performs anywhere near the level of those final ten starts, the Indians will have a front-of-the-rotation arm at a massive discount.
For Carrasco, signing an extension now guarantees his financial future even if he slides back to mediocrity. He needs to decide if he is willing to bet on himself and ride out his arbitration eligible years, which run until after the 2017 season. Another fine season would also bring a significant raise at the arbitration table, or force the Indians to raise the value of an extension offer.