As the Winter Meetings get underway, rumors are circulating that Carlos Carrasco could be traded away from the Cleveland Indians.
The Cleveland Indians trade rumors will be in full swing all offseason and it begins now at the Winter Meetings. While Francisco Lindor was the name expected to be tossed around, another name is emerging. Carlos Carrasco.
For Carlos Carrasco, he has been a fan favorite, but while he ages he could be a player on the move this offseason. The Cleveland Indians haven’t shied away from trading starting pitchers, moving Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger over the last two seasons and Carrasco could be the next on the list.
At 33-years old, Carrasco still has a lot of baseball left in him, but it might not be in the Cleveland. The Indians want to begin transitioning to a younger roster and that could result in the departure of Carrasco from Cleveland. While he is still valuable to the franchise, they could view prospects as having higher long-term value to the club’s future outlook.
While Carrasco’s deal isn’t awfully expensive, it is the most expensive contract on the books for the Indians at the moment. It can be well assumed that Lindor’s arbitration price will eventually be much more, but that doesn’t take away from the fact the Carrasco has a big number to pay.
For that reason, he could be on the chopping block this offseason. While his contract his higher than what the Indians want to pay, there are teams that would be more than happy to pay his price for a veteran pitcher. When he signed his current contract, Carlos Carrasco gave the Cleveland Indians a “hometown” discount to return, making his contract even more desirable, similar to what we saw with Kluber just a year ago.
Carrasco still has three years left on his deal, expiring at the conclusion of the 2023 season when he would be 36-years old. He’s set to make $12 million in both 2021 and 2022 before making $14 million in 2023. This makes him an intriguing target for teams that are willing to spend this offseason. He would bring a veteran presence to the locker room while also providing a strong arm to any rotation in baseball.
The key for the Cleveland Indians will ensuring that they can replace a player like Carlos Carrasco on the field. It’s hard to find a player like Carrasco in terms of leadership and being a draw to fans, but what he does on the field is what the Tribe are known for producing in the minors.
Cleveland has been able to produce one of the best starting rotations in baseball for a long time now and even with moving Carrasco they could still do just that. It might take a bit of time to settle in, but when it’s all said and done they might not miss a beat.
Over the last few seasons the Indians have been able to showcase their ability in developing pitchers with the rise of 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber. Additionally, Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac and Triston McKenzie have all been able to grow into roles in the rotation as well. Plesac is the oldest of the bunch, turning 26 this coming January, while McKenzie is the youngest at 23.
Moving Carrasco out of the rotation this offseason would open the door for another prospect to enter the rotation. The hope would be that the Indians would have one of the youngest rotations in baseball while still maintaining one of the best in the process.
While the top prospects in Daniel Espino and Ethan Hankins might need another year before they are ready, there are plenty of other options to turn to for one season. Logan Allen, Sam Hentges and Scott Moss are all on the active roster and have the potential to start. Of course, there is always Adam Plutko as well for the Indians to use as a fifth starter.
So the question remains, will the Cleveland Indians trade Carlos Carrasco before Opening Day? It is certainly a possibility. In an offseason where the Indians want to save money, Carrasco is one of the more expensive contracts on the books for the 2021 season. Also being one of the oldest players on the roster, Carrasco could become expendable if the Tribe believe they can replace him with younger players in the organization.