PITTSBURGH, Pa. / July 2, 2010
In this post, let's look at the final player the Pirates might reasonably trade: righthanded reliever D.J. Carrasco.
For a guy the Pirates signed on the mistaken belief that he could play classic house music in the Hall of Fame Club, D.J. Carrasco has done pretty well with a 3.98 ERA in 40 innings over 35 games.
Carrasco has pitched to an ERA below 4.00 for three years in a row now. He also threw 93 innings last year so he should have a lot left in the tank for anyone who acquires him. He's also earning $950,000 this year so any team in baseball could afford his salary.
Why Trade D.J. Carrasco?
Carrasco is 33 years old and in Pittsburgh on a one year deal, so whatever he can do down the stretch will be more valuable to a contending team. He's shown enough to have value, but it's difficult to imagine him being a part of Pittsburgh's next playoff team.
The case against any of these trades, in part, is that the Pirates must maintain some level of legitimacy as a major league club if they expect to retain a fan base. It's also difficult to develop young players in a situation where there's no hope of winning. The Mariners are out of contention but recently traded for Russell Branyan, a 34-year-old slugger, in an attempt to create a winning atmosphere. I'm not sure that approach is entirely wrong.
What Would The Pirates Get?
A mid-level prospect or two mediocre prospects. Carrasco might bring a slightly worse return than Javier Lopez, since Lopez is seen as a late inning option due to his lefty arm. Yet Carrasco is not a worse pitcher than Lopez and he has the ability to throw more innings.
Who Would Want Carrasco?
ALmost every team wouldn't mind adding a reliever. Even for those whose bullpens look set, someone is bound to become injured or ineffective. Here are the best candidates:
1. Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen named Carrasco as his 2009 MVP, was disappointed that he wasn't re-signed and would definitely love to have Carrasco back. Carrasco would clearly improve his old team, which is currently deploying three relievers with ERAs above 5.00 on a regular basis.
2. Apart from Arthur Rhodes, the Cincinnati Reds' bullpen is their biggest weakness. A small market team can't afford to miss a chance at a playoff run, so they're certain to make some moves. Carrasco would solidify the front end of the Reds' bullpen and could set up over Nick Masset as well.
3. The Detroit Tigers really need to do something to replace Joel Zumaya. Carrasco isn't that guy but he could cover innings that open up with everyone else moving back an inning.
Trade him. Carrasco has done well, but he's going to be a free agent and isn't likely to move up the Elias rankings high enough to merit draft pick compensation. Like it or not, 2010 is a lost season. Trade him, but only for a player who can help in the drive for 82-80 in 2011.