Car­rasco gets $47M, four-year deal from the In­di­ans

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Sports - TOM WITHERS

CLEVE­LAND — Car­los Car­rasco’s ca­reer has taken some dra­matic turns, rerouted by el­bow surgery, a ther­a­peu­tic trip to the bullpen and sev­eral freak­ish in­juries.

He per­se­vered, blos­som­ing into a spe­cial pitcher — and per­son — for the Cleve­land In­di­ans.

They’re go­ing to keep him around. The three-time Amer­i­can League Cen­tral cham­pi­ons and Car­rasco agreed Thurs­day to a US$47-mil­lion, four-year con­tract, a deal that in­cludes

$37.25 mil­lion in new guar­an­teed money and could keep him in a Cleve­land uni­form through the 2023 Ma­jor League Base­ball sea­son.

Car­rasco, who has won 35 games over the past two sea­sons, will make $9.75 mil­lion next sea­son, the same as his prior deal, and $10.25 mil­lion in 2020 — the same amount as the club’s pre­vi­ous op­tion for that sea­son. The In­di­ans added on two more sea­sons at $12 mil­lion each, and Cleve­land holds a 2023 op­tion for $14 mil­lion with a $3-mil­lion buy­out.

For the cash-con­scious In­di­ans, the 31-year-old Car­rasco is in­valu­able.

He’s a core mem­ber of one of base­ball’s best ro­ta­tions, which could be changed this win­ter if the In­di­ans trade ei­ther two-time Cy Young win­ner Corey Klu­ber or all-star Trevor Bauer to ad­dress out­field needs.

“As we looked at the con­ti­nu­ity of our ro­ta­tion, we feel Car­los can con­tinue to be a key cog in that,” In­di­ans pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Chris An­tonetti said. “When we had the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss with him the op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend his term here, it was some­thing we thought would make a lot of sense for us. And we’re re­ally happy we were able to do that, be­cause it does help in our plan­ning ef­forts mov­ing for­ward.

“We want to do what we can to im­prove our team not just in 2019 but in the years be­yond that as well.”

Car­rasco went 17-10 with a 3.38 earned-run av­er­age in 30 starts last sea­son, fin­ish­ing with a ca­reer-high 231 strike­outs as the In­di­ans be­came the first team to have four pitch­ers reach 200 strike­outs in the same sea­son.

It was an­other strong sea­son by Car­rasco, who came to Cleve­land in the 2009 block­buster trade that sent Cliff Lee to Philadel­phia. Car­rasco missed all of 2012 fol­low­ing el­bow re­con­struc­tion surgery, and two years later the In­di­ans had him pitch part of the sea­son in the bullpen, a move that An­tonetti pointed to as a turn­ing point for the right-han­der.

“It re­ally changed his mind­set,” An­tonetti said. “Car­los has al­ways had a great com­pli­ment of stuff. How he uti­lized that stuff and his ag­gres­sive­ness in the strike zone kind of came and went at times. When he had the op­por­tu­nity to pitch out of the bullpen with the mind­set of just try­ing to ex­e­cute one pitch at a time, don’t worry about try­ing to get through the lineup three or four times, just try to ex­e­cute one pitch. Try to get that hit­ter out. And then go on to the next hit­ter and try to get that hit­ter out un­til Tito comes to take the ball from you.

“That men­tal­ity helped flip the switch in Car­los’ mind to keep him ag­gres­sive. He main­tained that same ap­proach as a starter.”

If not for some un­lucky in­juries — he’s been struck with sev­eral line drives, in­clud­ing one in 2016 that kept him out of the post-sea­son — Car­rasco would have more than 79 ca­reer wins.

Car­los Car­rasco

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