Two weeks ago, Carlos Carrasco hit Kevin Youkilis after Robinson Cano hit a home run in a 14-1 loss to the Yankees. He was promptly ejected from the game and in addition to getting demoted to Triple-A he was given an eight-game suspension. So in this edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we asked our participants: Did Carlos Carrasco deserve to be suspended?
Evan Vogel: Absolutely, Carrasco deserved to be suspended. He hit Kevin Youkilis after serving up a home run when he was getting demolished. This wasn’t a Zack Greinke hitting Carlos Quentin in an obviously unintentional count and point in the game, it was immediately following a big blast and an obviously terrible start. Not only did he deserve the suspension, Carrasco deserved the demotion and the potential September call-up that Chris Antonetti mentioned due to the eight-game suspension (pending appeal) and how it would affect the Tribe roster if they were to keep him on the roster prior to the expansion later in the year.
After Jimenez imploded on Tuesday and Masterson looked like a wreck early on Wednesday night, this club doesn’t have the starting pitching to handle a short roster. Mental makeup is a part of the game. That’s why Milton Bradley, Elijah Dukes, and Carlos Zambrano aren’t on any MLB teams right now. Carrasco needs to figure it out and if that happens with another wasted season in Triple-A, so be it.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Lewie Pollis: No way. Headhunting should absolutely be punished and I’m all in favor of punishing those who willfully injure other players, but while I concede I’m in the minority here I absolutely do not think Carrasco intended to hit Youkilis.
Consider the circumstances. Carrasco looked visibly off-balance when he pitched and actually fell over at the end of his delivery. He apologized for hitting Youkilis after the game, which might not sound significant but is actually quite rare after beanballs. Terry Francona came to his defense, and he’s a guy with a pretty strong sense of right and wrong. And perhaps most importantly, Carrasco would have known how bad it would have looked for him to plunk a batter in frustration in his first game back from a suspension. Say what you want about his mental makeup, but it’s as baseless as it is insulting to think Carrasco is dumb enough to put himself in that situation.
I’m not saying he’s innocent until proven guilty and I applaud the league’s attempt to crack down on beanballs, but at the very least there is some major ambiguity surrounding Carrasco’s intentions. And he doesn’t deserve to be suspended for losing his grip on an errant pitch.
Steve Kinsella: Yes, Carlos Carrasco should have been immediately ejected and a suspension levied. The argument can be made that the league office simply didn’t believe that he didn’t hit Youkilis on purpose but they had to make a statement to increase the baseline on suspensions. He may be able to get his appeal down to a more manageable six games but the initial baseline has been raised.
Merritt Rohlfing: It’s an interesting question, and ripe for parsing and semantics-digging. It was definitely going to happen, the guy was just back from a six-game suspension for doing the exact same thing. Plus it was against the Yankees this time, and even if they’re terrible now they’re still the precious jewel of money MLB loves
Did he deserve to get tossed? Eh, maybe. He fell over as he threw, and you could totally convince yourself he was off-balance not focused from the home run, and let one get away from him. Of course, he’s got the history, and I pride myself on not being an idiot. The punishment was pretty keeping in line with the league’s penalizing in the past so the length isn’t anything to make noise over. The whole safety thing has always been a big deal for the game ever since Ray Chapman got killed, so you could say it’s a warning to others. Of course, pitcher suspensions don’t make any sense—eight games, so two starts.
I don’t know, I’m more upset he was so terrible than anything, maybe he’ll have time way from the bright lights of the Prog to clear his head. Whether he meant to do it or not, it was dumb as hell.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Katrina Putnam: Yes, he deserved the suspension. I’ve been a Carrasco fan since he was a Phillies prospect because he’s so talented, but until he matures, he should stay in Triple-A. Maybe he “slipped”, but he “slipped” the last time, too, and I have a hard time believing both pitches just happened to occur after grand slams.
A lot of people take his excuse at face value because Francona and Antonetti backed him up, but what else would they say? “Yeah, we think he’s lying, too. That guy has anger management issues.” They wanted to avoid a suspension just as much as he did, so regardless of their personal beliefs they had to stand by him. MLB did the right thing, even though it hurts the Indians.
Brian Heise: Yes, the suspension is warranted. Whether or not you believe Carrasco was throwing at Youkilis intentionally or not (I believe he did), a message needed to be sent. If he was throwing at him, the suspension aims at teaching him to be smarter than that. If the Indians are going to rely on Carrasco as a part of their future they need him on the mound and not exacting revenge. If the pitch wasn’t intentional, it also teaches a lesson. Basically, it’s teaches Carrasco that he needs to be more careful in those types of situations.
Perception is everything and being perceived as a headhunter is going to cause a lack of faith in him among umpires. He has to be more careful with his control, especially after giving up home runs and when the game is spiraling out of control. Going up and in might not be the best tactic immediately following a bomb to a super star. Yes, it sucks, but someone needed to teach Carrasco that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated.
Nick Houghtaling: I’m really not sure if he meant to hit Youkilis, but Carlos Carrasco should have been suspended without a doubt. It’s tough to know whether or not a beaning is an accident. Carrasco just came back from a suspension for hitting a player in nearly the exact same situation, so I really have to side with the league offices on his suspension despite the fact that it puts the Tribe in a tough place.