Last Updated on March 31, 2022 by Lil Ginge
The Mets need to be ready to pull Carlos Carrasco from the rotation quickly if he can’t prove he can perform by the end of April. They don’t have half a season to spend on giving the guy a chance to redeem himself. By the all-star break, a serious run at the playoffs could be way too late.
The 35-year old Mets pitcher claims he feels like he has “a new elbow” after undergoing surgery in October to remove the elbow bone fragment that has been plaguing him the last few seasons. Carrasco said of the elbow, “It doesn’t bother me, I can finish all my pitches, everything. So it’s completely different.”
The elbow injury was hampering the pitcher’s ability to throw both his split-changeup as well as his curveball, significantly limiting how effective he could be on the mound. Carrasco also thinks that the surgery and the shortened spring training will not prevent him from being ready to go for the start of the season.
Unfortunately, I am not as confident in Carrasco as Carrasco is.
Carrasco Was Very Bad for the Mets in 2021
True, Carlos Carrasco spent 2014-18 as an all-star caliber pitcher. In each of those years, he put up an ERA below 3.75 every single year, touching 2.55 in 2014. But after 2018 everything went south. In 2019, Carrasco spotted a 5.29 ERA in 12 games starting for the team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians.
And while Carrasco pitched well in the shortened 2020 season for them as well, his 2021 stat line for the Mets is the stuff of second-half of the season nightmares.
ZiPS is projecting a stat line in 2022 of 81 innings pitched with a 4.00 ERA and 3.90 FIP for a 1.3 fWAR total. Frankly, that would be perfectly adequate for the back-of-the-rotation starter. He doesn’t need to pitch like Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer do. And he won’t.
But I with my human head and my human heart are a bit less bullish on the coming performance of Carrasco than the calculation known as ZiPs.
Did Carrasco’s Injuries Kill His Numers?
On his performance last season, Carrasco has said:
It was a lot last year. Getting traded to a new team, new teammates, I was kind of a little bit under pressure because I got traded so I needed to pitch well and all that kind of stuff. Everything happened, my hamstring, for the first time. Then I ended up missing three months of the season. I fell a little bit behind getting to know the league and all that stuff and getting my arm built up.
But finally I got to pitch last year — not very well, but I learned a lot from last year. Bring it to this year and I can’t wait till games start.– Carlos Carrasco, Mets pitcher
As a Mets fan, I certainly do hope Carrasco has learned a lot from last year. And I hope he’s ready to pitch a stellar – or at least sort of average – season for the Mets in 2022. But the Mets can’t wait all year to see if Carrasco gets better if he stumbles out of the gate. Four starts in April should be enough to determine whether Carlo Carrasco is back on track or still plagued by his previous injuries or any other physical or mental phenomena that may be going on.
The Mets Could Have a Great Rotation in 2022
The Mets have the potential to boast a very good rotation with:
- Jacob deGrom: (92 IP, 1.24 FIP, 4.9 fWAR in 2022)
- Max Scherzer (179.1 IP, 2.97 FIP, 5.4 fWAR)
- Chris Bassit (157.1 IP, 3.34 FIP, 3.3 fWAR)
- Taijuan Walker (159 IP, 4.57 FIP, 1.4 fWAR)
- Tylor Megill (89.2 IP, 4.69 FIP, 0.6 fWAR)
and leaving Carlos Carrasco to the side. This is especially true if Taijuan Walker pitches more like his first-half self (64.1 IP, 3.06 FIP, 2.66 ERA) than his dreadful second half. Plus, Tylor Megill is only 26 and has shown some promise. He may not improve in 2022, but there’s potential for him to be a very good fifth starter, which is a lot different than being a very good ace or third starter.
In essence, Carlos Carrasco should only have one month to prove he can perform better than Walker and Megill in 2022. Carrasco still has 1 full year left on his contract at $12,000,000 plus a vesting option for 2023 at $14mm. That’s no excuse to keep him. A sunk cost is a sunk cost and current Mets owner Steve Cohen can definitely afford to drop Carrasco without a thought. If Carrasco stumbles out of the gate, that’s exactly what Cohen should do.