The Indians have agreed to a contract extension with starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. The deal will cover 2015-2018, for a guaranteed $22 million, with team options for 2019 and 2020 that could bring the deal to above $40 million.
Carrasco, a former top prospect, had struggled over the years as a starter, and was moved to the bullpen in 2014 after a poor start to the season. He did well as a reliever though, and with the team low on options in early August, Carrasco was moved back into the rotation, where he preformed tremendously. In ten games he posted a 1.30 ERA, with a 78 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 69.0 innings pitched. He was arguably the best pitcher in baseball down the stretch.
Carrasco was eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, and agreed to a $2.38 million deal. If he hadn't been extended, he'd have been eligible for arbitration again for 2016 and 2017, with solid seasons likely earning him something like $6 million and $10 million for those two years. He's now guaranteed slightly more than that, while giving up potential free agency for as many as three additional years.
Given Carrasco's inconsistency over the years, there's definitely a fair amount of risk involved for the Indians. On the other hand, if he really did figure some things out last summer, and is going to be an above average starter in the years to come, this deal could be a huge gain for the Tribe, especially with the no-risk team options tacked on at the end.
Carrasco joins Corey Kluber, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes, and Carlos Santana in being extended by the Indians in recent years, and in being under team control with cost certainty through at least the end of 2017. The core of this team will be in place for years to come, which is an exciting though.