Carlos Carrasco is, somewhat quietly, a potential New York Mets free agent this offseason. It all comes down to whether or not the team wants to stick with him. The final year of his deal originally signed with Cleveland could pay him $14 million next year on a team option. Alternatively, the Mets could pay $3 million to buy him out.
Money isn’t so much the issue here. In Carrasco’s case, it’s about staying on the field.
Limited to only 12 starts in 2021, Carrasco looked like someone we couldn’t wait to get rid of after one season. However, in 2022, he rebounded nicely with a 13-5 record and 3.92 ERA in his first 23 starts of the season. Unfortunately, an injury sidelined him and the decision isn’t so clear.
1) NY Mets need to have a clear picture of Carlos Carrasco’s health
Carrasco’s health is the biggest concern for sure. Now 35 starts in two seasons with the club, it’s simply not enough to justify a roster spot. The Mets are going to spend money on their rotation this offseason. The $14 million—but more importantly the spot in the rotation—cannot go to waste.
Carrasco could return to action before the end of the season. Even if he is eased back in, it’s important to understand exactly where he is physically. Anything short of 100% and a farewell could be in order.
2) NY Mets need to have an idea of what’s up with their other free agent pitchers
Because the Mets do have other free agent starting pitcher considerations, they need to look elsewhere even when it comes to Carrasco. Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker all have either options or opt-outs that they can control. All three make sense to test free agency. We shouldn’t expect each to come back but can set our expectations for two to return.
Having some good insight into where those three stand before they have to decide on Carrasco is invaluable. If even one of them seems poised to return, Carrasco becomes more expendable.
3) NY Mets need to make a plan early but leave a door open for Carlos Carrasco
Carrasco’s contract might not go into effect but that shouldn’t end his relationship with the Mets. He could be a candidate to return on a different deal.
Shutting the door on any of their potential free agents is a bad idea. Someone like Carrasco, who won’t have teams knocking down doors to sign him, would make for a nice one-year option for less than $14 million.