Indians Need Carlos Carrasco as a Starter
There have been plenty of rumors connecting the Cleveland Indians to relief pitching but there have not been many rumors surrounding the Cleveland Indians and starting pitching this winter.
Screen Grab: MLB.tv
The Indians may be backing off the market after seeing the high cost and multi-year contracts given to marginal talent such Scott Feldman who received 3yr/$30M from the Houston Astros or Mike Pelfrey (2yr/$11M) and Phil Hughes (3yr/$24M) who both signed with the Minnesota Twins.
Or, the Indians may feel that the replacement for the innings lost by Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez can be filled in-house. Having Danny Salazar in the rotation for the entire season will help fill a large percentage of the innings and it appears that Carlos Carrasco will be given first shot to cover the rest.
Last summer Carrasco appeared in 15 games (7 starts) but was most effective as a reliever. In his seven starts he went 0-4 with an ERA of 9.00 and the opposition hit .383 against him. As a reliever he logged 13.2 innings in 8 games posting a record of 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA and held the opposition to a .156 average.
He will be out of options in 2014, meaning he’d have to clear waivers to be sent to the minor leagues, and there was some question as to whether he’d be a starting pitcher or reliever come spring training.
The Indians and manager Terry Francona wanted to deliver a message to him and they chose the winter meetings to do it. Carrasco lives in Tampa and it’s only an hour drive to Orlando where the two sides met to discuss the right handers future with the organization.
Francona and the Indians expect a big season from Carrasco as a member of the starting rotation, “We expect him to log a bunch of innings and kind of take off. I think we all feel like it’s his time to take off and go.”
It doesn’t sound as if the Indians message was for Carrasco to come to spring training and stretch his arm out and a role will be defined sometime around opening day.
Francona was honest in suggesting that it’s the organization that has to be patient with Carrasco as a starting pitcher. “Part of it is us giving him the opportunity that when he does get roughed up that we don’t take him out of the rotation. He came up from Triple-A he got the suspension, then he got sent down, we just need to let him pitch and when he has a hiccup know it’s a hiccup and we’ll get him back out there.”
Reading between the lines it appears as if Carlos Carrasco has been told that barring injury he will be in the rotation to begin the 2014 season. This may not eliminate the Indians from investing money in another starting pitcher but if that was to happen the odd man out may be Zach McAllister not Carlos Carrasco.
More than likely the Indians would like to sign a veteran pitcher who will agree to report to Columbus to begin the season and be ready when there is a need at the big league level.
More From Francona On Carrasco Below: