Is Carrasco Worth the Fiasco?

On 07/29/2009, the Cleveland Indians traded away reigning Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies. In return, the Indians received Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp, and Carlos Carrasco. With Lee’s contract expiring at the end of the season the Indians felt there was no way they could afford to give Lee the money he was looking for. A rather controversial move after trading away CC Sabathia the previous season after he won the AL Cy Young Award. Making the Indians the first team in MLB history to trade away back-to-back Cy Young Award winners.

Lee was coming off of a season in which he went 22-3 and had a 2.83 ERA. He struck out 170 batters and allowed 34 walks. That season made him a hot commodity at the trade deadline and the Indians had no choice but to try and get some value for him before he just walked away at the end of the season. The Tribe also traded outfielder Ben Francisco to Philadelphia.

Jason Knapp never saw any time in the big leagues. Marson and Donald both came up sparingly for the Tribe, but neither produced anywhere near what the club was hoping to get out of them. That left Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was a pitcher with electric stuff, but needed some polishing before he was major league ready. Since his time up, Carrasco has shown the ability to pitch in the bullpen, but not as a starter. The problem is that the Tribe need him to be a starter. With 3 of the 4 players turning out to be busts, the Tribe continue to hold onto Carrasco hoping he can turn it around. Carrasco is 0-2 in 3 starts on the season with a staggering 7.31 ERA. His numbers don’t get any better the farther back you look either.

Last season the Tribe signed oft-injured Scott Kazmir to a one year deal not expecting much from him. He turned into one of the most consistent pitchers for the Tribe last year. They let him walk this past offseason where he signed with Oakland for 2 years worth $22 million. A bit high, but he is 2-0 this season with a 1.65 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 24/4. Certainly on pace to earn what he is making. The Indians signed Aaron Harang this spring to maybe get another Kazmir like season from an often injured veteran. Harang pitched very well in the spring, but was surprisingly released by the Tribe and was quickly grabbed by Atlanta. Harang is 3-1 on the season with an incredible ERA of just 0.70. He has also take 2 no-hitters deep into ballgames already this season. The Tribe even brought up promising young pitcher Trevor Bauer for a start in which struck out 8 and had batters guessing all day. The Tribe gave him no run support and a questionable review on an Elliot Johnson catch and transfer in right cost him the game in the 1st inning. Bauer has 2 other starts in triple A where he is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA and has 18 strikeouts compared to just 3 walks.

All three of these pitchers are having fantastic starts to this season while Carrasco continues to get hit around the park. Most Tribe fans continue to wonder why Carrasco still has the final spot in the rotation and why the Indians let those other two pitchers walk. In a league where good starting pitching is hard to come by, the Tribe seem to have made a huge mistake. The answer is quite simple: The Tribe front office is embarrassed at the swing and miss they took on the Cliff Lee trade and wont admit they failed. If they want to win they need to swallow their pride, get rid of Carrasco, and start spending money on pitchers.

-Brandon Proy

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