The Indians Carrasco still a hot topic as the deadline nears
With just hours left until the non-waiver trade deadline, the Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Carrasco is seeing his name thrown into a lot of news. He responded last night by throwing a two-hit complete game against the Oakland A’s. By the way, if you’re keeping count that’s three straight complete games from the Indians starters.
Back to Carrasco, after a deal with the Blue Jays fell through in the late stages he’s now being mentioned with several teams–the Blue Jays are reported to no longer have interest–but the Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers all remain in contact with the Indians.
Carrasco is under team control for another four years, and at a good cost as well. That combined with his recent outings makes him a viable ‘sell high’ candidate. The Indians desperately need offensive help. The few moves they have made so far have come with mixed reactions. The trade of David Murphy to the Angels netted a Double-A infielder known for his glove and a weak bat while the trade of Brandon Moss to the Cardinals brought their top pitching prospect in Rob Kaminsky. Overall, I’d call these two deals a push at this point.
While I can’t speak to the rumors of the Red Sox and Dodgers, I do know the Cubs would be a team that a trade could be mutually beneficial. Cubs president Theo Epstein isn’t playing for one year. He’s made it clear he wants to bring in players who will help beyond this stretch run, and Carrasco is the perfect fit for that. The Indians, on the other hand, could really use some offense and the Cubs have the best farm system in baseball. Even with the recent call-ups in the last two seasons of Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber, the system is still full of offensive potential.
For the Indians, the pressure of dealing Carrasco is minimal. There is no reason they HAVE to make a deal. They’ll field all calls, and if an offer is appealing a deal could be made. While they have an advantage of his contract and his recent success, the front office must also remembethat he’s carries a career ERA of 4.23. His FIP the last two years has been sub-3.00, but the Indians have to understand this isn’t Corey Kluber they’re dealing. You can’t ask for top prospects.
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The Cubs have been clear that Starlin Castro and Javier Baez are available, but neither fir the Indians needs with Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor up the middle. First baseman Dan Vogelbach has had a successful start to his minor league career and is only 22. The downside for him in Chicago is his ability to play other than first hasn’t panned out, and some guy named Anthony Rizzo seems to be in the way. He may be well suited for the AL and the designated hitter.
The Cubs aren’t heavy on major league ready pitching prospects–hence the need to trade for one–but they have several in the system with potential that the Tribe could look for in return to replace Carrasco. Carl Edwards Jr., Duane Underwood, and Pierce Johnson are all in the Cubs top 10 prospects–with Edwards being the closest to the Majors. Originally a starter, Edwards was moved to the bullpen to help fast track him to Chicago. With a thin frame, the concern for Edwards has been durability as well as a high amount of walks. His stuff however is top notch and not an issue.
The Indians are in a great position with their pitchers as far as trades are concerned. Under team control, there’s no reason to make a deal if it isn’t going to make sense. But it’s serves the Tribe well to look to stock the system with mid to high-level players in return for their pitching talent. It’s clearly turned into an assessment year for the Indians as they try to identify what they have and who will be part of the future.
It can be painful to watch after the expectations coming into this season, but with key pieces in place like Michael Brantley, Kipnins and Kluber–the building blocks are there. Now just to fill in around it. The tactic has worked well for the Cubs and Astros. Hopefully, the Indians won’t have to endure as long a stretch as those two teams did.