The Indians have already been involved in a flurry to discussions regarding a potential trade of one of their talented starting pitchers, something that isn't expected to stop with next week's Winter Meetings looming. One of their top-line starters, meanwhile, will seemingly remain in Cleveland for quite some time.
The Indians on Thursday exercised a 2020 club option and then extended starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in a deal that could keep him in Cleveland through the 2023 season.
Carrasco was already under club control through 2020 with his previous deal. His 2019 club option valued at $9.75 million for 2019 was picked up earlier this winter, with the 2020 club option being worth $10.25 million. The extension tacks on two more years at $12 million each and includes a vesting option for the 2023 season valued at $14 million (with a $3 million buyout).
Carrasco, 31, is one of seven qualified starting pitchers to amass at least 10.0 fWAR the last two seasons combined. In that time, he's has gone 34-15 with a 3.31 ERA, 3.04 FIP and a 10.40 K/9 rate, ranking in the top-13 among starting pitchers in each category.
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Carrasco could be 36 by the time this deal ends, but it does stand as a quality value for the Indians compared to what Carrasco would get on the open market as a starting pitcher who's been at a fringe-ace level for several seasons. As long as he pitches at his current level, he'll remain one of the best veteran bargains in the game today.
Carrasco was unable to pitch during the 2016 postseason run after being hit with a line drive but has put together two quality starts in the last two series, combining to allow just two runs on nine hits in 11 innings to go with 10 strikeouts in two postseason starts.
It means Carrasco, Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber are all now under club control through at least the 2022 season in the Indians' starting rotation, giving them additional long-term security for what is one of baseball's best units.
It doesn't necessarily alter the team's direction in either way, but it can narrow the focus on the Indians searching for a deal for either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer as a way to address the needs around the roster while also reallocating payroll. Carrasco could always be traded as well, but with the Indians holding a long-term view in mind, the heat could be raised on Kluber or Bauer.