The Red Sox and Indians have discussed a trade that would send starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to Boston to shore up the Red Sox' dismal rotation, according to Jerry Crasnick.
While the Red Sox certainly do not fit the profile of a typical buyer, it also doesn't come as a surprise that they're in on someone like Carlos Carrasco. At 28, with three years of team control left after 2015, Carrasco is the sort of player the Sox could trade for today and either lock in tomorrow or even just ride with through the end of arbitration without committing significant money to those later years of his career which they have proven so reluctant to bet on in recent offseasons.
Certainly, Carrasco fits the bill as the sort of talent the Red Sox would love to add to the rotation. Over the last two seasons, he's struck out more than a batter per inning while walking fewer than two per nine. He combines a mid-90s fastball with a curveball, changeup, keeping batters off-balance and uncertain at the plate. He even comes in as a ground ball man, having kept that rate over 50% for the last three straight seasons.
If there's an issue, it's that it hasn't all quite worked out this year for him. He has a 4.03 ERA in 127 innings of work. It is founded on a somewhat high BABIP, and by all accounts he's the same pitcher who performed so well last season, just with a bit less luck on fly balls. If he's not a 2.55 ERA guy, he's also probably not a 4.03 ERA guy.
Probably, though, is a bit of a loaded term with the Red Sox right now. They bet big on Rick Porcello for much the same reason as they would Carrasco: because he probably is better than his career would suggest. But Carrasco doesn't really have the full body of work to really convince the world that he is another Sonny Gray or Chris Sale, or even belongs in the same sentence. It can't even be ignored that the Indians have floated his name around so much this month. It does feel a bit like they're a team looking to sell high.
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So if the Red Sox are looking to make the huge move and eliminate their offseason needs for an ace, Carrasco does not represent the truly premium product. Of course, if that comes with a reduced price? Now we're talking. No, the Red Sox aren't going to get Carlos Carrasco for pennies. They will have to give up some of their best minor league talent. But if a player like Gray would absolutely cost them everyone south of Moncada (who seems like the one player still in the minors the Sox will try their damnedest not to surrender), perhaps they can pick and choose more with Carrasco. One of Manuel Margot and Rafael Devers instead of both. One of Brian Johnson and Henry Owens.
But that's not a guarantee. If the Indians are perhaps looking to sell high, that doesn't mean they're willing to sell anywhere below that. And if the price starts rising, it might just behoove the Red Sox to back out of any such talks and instead try to go all-in on a more sure thing. If nothing else, they can rest assured that doing nothing huge at the deadline is not a problem. They'll still have a full offseason ahead. The only way this trade deadline can prove disastrous is if the Red Sox make the wrong deal rather than none at all.