On the block:
Carrasco has asked to be traded to a contender, and he’s pitching well enough to land on a team with post-season hopes. Carrasco is a utility pitcher as he can start and pitch in practically any relief role. If you want a comparison, how about Shawn Chacon when he was with the Pirates in 2007? He went 5-4, 3.94 ERA, 60 games in relief, four as a starter.
Unlike Bucs closer Octavio Dotel, who is also on the trading block, Carrasco has a reasonable salary of $950,000. Dotel is linked to a $3.5 million deal with a $4.5 million club option in 2011.
Carrasco has a good sinker and a decent breaking ball, but it’s his durability that makes him attractive to a contending club. Entering Thursday, Carrasco was 4th in the National League with 55 2/3 relief innings and he led the American League in that category last season with 89 1/3 for the White Sox.
Here’s a list of six teams I could see dealing for Carrasco:
Red Sox (13th in MLB with 4.861 WXRL)
As much as Theo Epstein hates doing so, the Red Sox desperately need to trade for some relief help. Daniel Bard leads Boston’s bullpen with a 3.892 WXRL, followed by closer Jonathan Papelbon‘s 2.223 WXRL. Epstein can’t solely rely on veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield to fill the team’s long relief role, especially since he has been needed for spot starts. The Red Sox have a good crop of prospects to deal for Carrasco, though it shouldn’t take much to pry him away.
Giants (12th in MLB with 5.036 WXRL)
Like the Red Sox, the Giants could use some help in their ‘pen, especially in the long relief role. We all know Bruce Bochy has a fantastic starting rotation, but it would be nice to have Carrasco as insurance.
Reds (20th in MLB with 3.463 WXRL)
Closer Francisco Cordero and southpaw Arthur Rhodes stand out in the the Reds relief corps, but Cincinnati arguably has the worst ‘pen of a contending team. If Edinson Volquez can’t last in the rotation and some of the younger starters need a break, Carrasco could help with some spot starts.
Tigers (6th in MLB with 6.134 WXRL)
The Tigers have a solid bullpen, but GM Dave Dombrowski is trying to find a replacement for injured set-up man Joel Zumaya. Carrasco is talented enough to fill that void and go multiple innings.
White Sox (10th in MLB with 5.325 WXRL)
The White Sox know Carrasco well as he pitched for them the last two seasons. They appreciate his utility as much as any contender.
Yankees (16th in MLB with 4.239 WXRL)
The Yankees are the best team in baseball but have a shaky ‘pen beyond closer Mariano Rivera. Brian Cashman hasn’t been able to ably replace injured long reliever Alfredo Aceves, and everyone knows of Joba Chamberlain‘s struggles setting-up for Rivera. A deal between these two teams shouldn’t be hard to complete, since Neal Huntington has a very good relationship with the Yankees, making a number of trades with New York over the past two seasons.
Jesse Behr is a Baseball Prospectus intern.