Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Carlos Carrasco set to join Indians

In one of the worst-kept secrets of the season, Carlos Carrasco will be heading to Cleveland to join the Indians on Wednesday when the rosters expand from 25 to 40 players.

Carrasco has had a solid year at Columbus, going 10-6 with a 3.65 ERA. He's been particularly effective lately, going 2-3 in his last ten games, but with a paltry 2.76 ERA. In his last four games, the big righty has gone 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA, earning his call-up. Carrasco likely would already be with the big league club if not for a minor forearm injury in late-July.

Carrasco could start on Wednesday, which would be his normal five day rest. Josh Tomlin is scheduled to start, but it's possible that Manny Acta may be planning to move to a six-man rotation to allow his starters to avoid strain at the end of the season, in particular with starter Justin Masterson. It's likely that Masterson may either get shut down, or more likely, move to the pen for the last two or three weeks. This would allow Masterson to pare back his innings during his first full season as a starter.

Carrasco has struggled in his brief cup of coffee with the Indians last season. Carrasco went 0-4 with a near 9.00 ERA. Carrasco came over in the deal with the Philadelphia that sent the Phillies ace Cliff Lee. Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp also came over in the deal, that so far, hasn't paid off in immediate success for Cleveland.

Marson is currently platooning with Chris Gimenez, and is batting below the Mendoza line at .188. Marson is a capable back-up, but hasn't yet developed into the Carlos Santana alternative that many had in mind. Jason Donald has been a solid middle-infielder for the Indians this season, although many hoped he would show a little more offensively than he has. There's still plenty of room and upside for Donald, but the Indians ultimately are looking at Donald as a utility player, as Cord Phelps and Jason Kipnis continue to develop at second base. Jason Knapp just returned from shoulder surgery recently, and had two blazing starts, before struggling last night. Many are resting their hats on the big righty, who if healthy, is a can't miss ace. Still, Knapp's race to the majors has many miles in between.

Carrasco may be the only tangible piece to this trade that could pay off quickly. Many wonder whether Carrasco is nothing more than a quad-A player (tell me you didn't just think of Andy Marte), but after putting up solid numbers, now is the time for the former Phillie to make his move.

While it's likely we won't know how the Indians came out in the Cliff Lee trade until Jason Knapp maneuvers his way through the system, it would be helpful to know that the Tribe received at least two better-than-average players for one of the best pitchers in baseball.

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