A steady Carlos Carrasco would go a long way for the Cleveland Guardians

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cleveland Guardians
Los Angeles Dodgers v Cleveland Guardians / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

It's just like old times again. Carlos Carrasco is in Cleveland's fifth starter and should help solidify the rotation. While that may appear to be quite similar to the end of his first stint with the organization, there are a few differences, and it is not just the Guardians name on the front the jersey.

There was a time when Carrasco was counted on as being a workhorse in the rotation and one of the more important members of that group, but this no longer applies. Sure, Carrasco's starts will be important, and a certain level of performance will be required for him to maintain his position for more than a start or two. However, Carrasco is currently the fifth starter for the Guardians, and that is a role that is more supportive than workhorse. 

One more thing to consider is the eventual return of Gavin Williams. Williams dealt with some elbow discomfort in Spring Training, and his timetable to prepare for the season was pushed back just a bit. The second-year right-hander is not expected to miss a significant portion of time, possibly only a few starts. This does allow Carrasco to prove himself worthy of sticking around once Williams returns, possibly in a bullpen role. This could allow Carrasco to be used in long relief if a starter gets shelled early, as a spot starter should a pitcher be scratched at the last minute, or as the starter in the event the Guardians have a doubleheader. There is even the chance that Carrasco could step back into the rotation as a regular starter later in the year should someone else go down with an injury or if the Guardians end up trading a starter. 

Having someone with the versatility and flexibility of Carrasco is incredibly valuable for the Guardians at the moment. Being able to turn to someone reliable if needed is not a luxury that every team has. Sure, Carrasco's last year with the New York Mets was not ideal, but it is worth noting very few things went right for that team last year, in addition to Cookie having an off-and-on pattern dating back to 2019. Should this pattern continue, Carrasco would be in line for a much better 2024, and that could certainly aid the Guardians' cause this season.