Carlos Carrasco Needs to Get His Ish Together

Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Lil Ginge

An AI generated image of Carlos Carrasco crying on the mound

On March 31, 2022, I wrote, “The Mets need to be ready to pull Carlos Carrasco from the rotation quickly if he can’t prove he can perform.”

I am writing it again today. 

Carlos Carrasco has only started 4 games for the Mets in 2023.

But they have been bad.

Very bad.

To date (May 21, 2023), Carrasco has pitched 18.2 innings and put up an 8.68 ERA and a 7.00 FIP. This is “good” for a negative fWAR of -0.3.

In other words, he’s been below replacement value. That’s unacceptable for a team trying to win a playoff spot this season. And (I think?) the Mets still are.

Why is Carlos Carrasco doing so terribly so far?  Well, let’s see.

He can’t strike anyone out (13% k rate in 2023 versus career 21%).

He’s walking everyone (12% bb rate in 2023 versus 6% career).

And everyone seems to be hitting home runs off of him (2% her rate versus career 1%).

So… nothing is going well. Hence, horrendous results.

In theory, I guess, if the Mets co-aces were performing well—looking at you Cy Young winners Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander—Carlos Carrasco stinking up the joint (Citi Field, all ballparks) wouldn’t be the enormous problem that it is.

But they aren’t. They too are stinking up sundry and assorted joins.

Yes, Max and Justin need to get their ish together, too. But that’s a story for a different blog post.

This one is about Carlos Carrasco. And I’m saying it now. If he can’t figure it out in his next four or five starts, they need to stop using him in 2023.

Mets’ Other Rotation Options

If that happens, do the Mets have better solutions in-house?

Not really.

In theory, Dave Peterson could get his ish together quickly in AAA. Enough so that he’s ready to take the shuttle bus back to the Big Apple (where I hope he belongs) and start pitching well again.

Joey Lucchesi could get another look, but he wasn’t overly impressive in his five starts with a 4.43 ERA and a 5.18 FIP.

Jose Butto put up a sweet 3.00 ERA in his two games started, but his FIP of 6.30 portends a worrying future, to say the least.

I guess—checks notes—Denyi Reyes…exists?

But it’s not like we have Cy Young down in AAA waiting by the phone for his promotion.

Or even, like, Matt Harvey. (Harvey retired).

Or even, like, Tylor Megill. Because Megill’s already here, and pitching reasonably well as our (8th 7th 6th) 5th starter.

Which means the Mets are either going to live with a questionable-to-bad option for a fifth starter in 2023, or they’re going to have to make a trade.

But given the Mets’ mediocre—at best—performance to date, I wouldn’t go trading the farm for one starting pitcher. If you can’t get someone great in a one-for-one swap or someone decent for a spare part (Vogelbach,  Guillermo, Eduardo Escobar, etc.), trading for a pitcher seems like a bad idea for both the present and future.

Can Carlos Carrasco Turn it Around in 2023?

So, the best option is very clearly for Carlos Carrasco to get his ish together.

When I wrote that the Mets needed to be ready to pull Carrasco quickly in 2022, I definitely meant it.

Happily, Carlos was able to redeem himself with a reasonably good season. He put up a 3.97 ERA in 29 games started for the Mets, good for a 2.4 fWAR.  That’s not ace-like, but he didn’t need to be. He just needed to be an average pitcher holding down the back end of a good rotation. And he was excellent in that role.

Is it possible for Carrasco to find redemption again?  Absolutely. 

But we don’t have three months to wait to find out.

Not if the postseason is still the plan.

I don’t think that trading more than one good prospect for a rental is the right move this year. Not with a roughly .500 Mets winning percentage in Mid-May with relatively few signs of a coming turnaround.

But as outlined above, while the Mets don’t have any great internal options, it’s still worth taking another chance on Lucchesi, Butto, or even Reyes. 

It’s not like they could be that much worse than Carrasco has been so far.

2023 Mets Bright Spots?

Fortunately, not all is completely dark in Mets-land. The kids—Baty, Alvarez, and Vientos— seem alright. Lindor is showing some signs of a potential hot streak to come. Nimmo has been mostly excellent. Alonso’s still a-mashin’. Megill is holding his own as a fifth starter. And Mets set up man closer David Robertson has been fantastic this year.

But this starting rotation is not enough to get the Mets to the promised land—a much-desired and much-expected playoff berth in 2023.

Max and Verlander aren’t going anywhere right now. They both need to turn it around, and I think they can.

Carlos Carrasco?

I’m not so sure.

So it’s time for him to either ish or get off the pot.

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