Tag: dj carrasco

Quick Look: DJ Carrasco

The Mets biggest winter acquisition thus far has been the signing of free-agent pitcher D.J. Carrasco. Personally, I don’t know much about Carrasco, since he spent most of his career in the Adulterated League and Japan. What little we saw of him in 2010 with the D’backs and Pirates was inconclusive.

That said, I called on fellow SweetSpot blogger Jim Margalus of Sox Machine to give us a quick and dirty background on Carrasco:

First of all, Carrasco wears some kick-ass stirrups. If that was his only contributions to the Sox, I’d be thrilled with his career.

But beyond fashion, he’s extremely useful. Ozzie Guillen called him his team MVP in 2009 for pitching nearly 100 innings in relief thanks to his rubber arm. Aesthetically, his stuff doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in high-leverage situations, because he will subtract off his fastball and throw a lot of sweeping curves. Throw in his deceptive delivery, and it looks like he’s experimenting with pitches.

Watch him for a while, and that’s just the way he attacks hitters. He compensates with a lack of power by not giving in. It’s worked for him for three years now, ever since the Sox picked him up off the scrap heap. I’m a fan.

Stirrups? Heck, right there he’s pulling on my old-school heartstrings. “Useful” and “rubber arm” are descriptors I like to see from someone in the bullpen, as well.

D.J. Carrasco may be no Rafael Soriano, but he should be adequate in his role of reliever / swingman. Barring injury, we’re likely to see him fairly often in 2011.

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Mets Sign D.J. Carrasco

According to various reports, the Mets have reached an agreement with reliever D.J. Carrasco on a 2-year, $2.5M deal.

Though I’m not terribly excited about this move, it’s a cheap, fairly low-risk contract for someone who is more or less filler material in the bullpen. I have to say I’m a little surprised the Mets gave a two-year deal to a fairly mediocre pitcher who will turn 34 soon after Opening Day. But I guess that’s what the Mets can afford right now, and they don’t have much MLB-ready help for the ‘pen down on the farm.

Carrasco is a tall (6’4″) righthander with a wicked slider and inconsistent command of a low-90s fastball. He’s been durable and has improved his numbers every year since returning from a year in Japan and moving to the bullpen full-time (he was originally a starter with the KC Royals) in 2008. He’ll get swings and misses (7.5 K/9 last year) but he also gives away free passes (3.9 BB/9 in ’10). In addition to his durability, another positive is that he can go more than one inning at a time and he rarely gives up the longball. Every once in a while he drops his arm angle, which is nice for entertainment value but practically useless from a performance standpoint (think: Oliver Perez dropping down).

The Mets need all the arms they can find, and this one should help them get through the rough times over the next two years.

By the way, you might remember D.J. Carrasco for helping the Mets win on July 31st in his first appearance as a Diamondback. Also a bit of trivia: former Met farmhand Mike Carp hit his first MLB homerun off Carrasco. Don’t ask me how or why I know this.

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Pirates Making Deadline Deals

Seems that everyone in baseball is getting involved in the excitement of the annual trade deadline … heck, even the Pittsburgh Pirates are wheeling and dealing.

This morning, the Bucs sent Ryan Church (remember him?), Bobby Crosby, and D.J. Carrasco to Arizona (well, technically, they’re being “sent” to New York from St. Louis) in return for Chris Snyder and a minor leaguer.

Seems like an unusual trade for both sides — how often do you see two “sellers” hook up to make a deadline deal? The Pirates get a talented catcher who has been saddled with chronic back issues to add to a stable of backstops that already includes Jason Jaramillo and the similarly injury-prone Ryan Doumit. Doumit recently was placed on the DL with a mild concussion.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks get three over-30 veterans who are unlikely to be with the club next season. Both Church and Crosby have been terrible offensively in limited action with the Bucs, but Carrasco has been more than passable in a middle-relief role, sporting a 3.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 45 Ks / 22 BB in 56 IP.

Over the winter, I suggested that Crosby would’ve been a more efficient idea to be the utilityman than Alex Cora, and advocated him again when Jose Reyes went down. Despite the .220 average he’s posted with the Pirates, I stand by my original thoughts. Why? Because his monetary cost is half that of Cora and he doesn’t have an option kicking in for 2011. Further, his rancid .595 OPS is still about 60 points better than Cora, he’s shown some HR power in the past, and he can capably play all 4 infield positions. Crosby may not be a future manager some day, but he might have a few more granules of grit.

Not sure why I’m ranting about Bobby Crosby — it’s not like he would’ve made a difference on the 2010 Mets.

Carrasco, on the other hand, might have been a welcome addition to the Mets’ bullpen right now. I realize that the relief corps has been surprisingly good since the All-Star Exhibition, but we will be seeing more performances similar to Raul Valdes‘ last night as the arms get more worn and exposed. I’m a little surprised that the Mets haven’t yet acquired a low-cost, obtainable, usable reliever such as Carrasco. Though, I suppose that’s because Ryota Igarashi and Sean Green will be ready to return any day now (joy!).

Snyder used to be intriguing for his defensive prowess and power potential, but now that he’s closing in on age 30, there isn’t much hope for significant improvement. He could fall into the Rod Barajas category (little value when not slugging homeruns) or possibly sneak up into Miguel Olivo level (some value when not hitting homers).

The Pirates may be in the news again before the day is done, as the names Paul Maholm, Octavio Dotel, and Javier Lopez are being bandied about. Must be fun to be a Bucs fan this time every year.

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