This is not at all surprising, but the Indians officially exercised the $9.75 million club option on starter Carlos Carrasco for 2019.
Carrasco remains one of the biggest bargains in baseball following another excellent season for the Tribe. He went 17-10 with a 3.38 ERA and 231/43 K/BB ratio in 192 innings. People will be paying as much as three times that per year for comparable starters on the free agent market.
Carrasco signed his current contract at the beginning of the 2015 season. It was a four-year, $22 million deal with this $9 million option for this year, along with a $750,000 bonus for finishing in the top-10 of the Cy Young voting in 2017. There’s another club option for 2020, currently at $9.5 million, but it too could go higher if he rates high enough in this year’s awards voting. Unless he’s hit by a bus in 2019, that one will likely be exercised too.
In other news, the Indians declined their option on outfielder Brandon Guyer. He just finished a two-year, $5 million contract and the forgone option would’ve paid him $3 million in 2019. In 2018 Guyer hit .206/.300/.371 with seven homers in 221 plate appearances. The Indians will likely be able to find someone who could do that or better on a minor league deal.
The Yankees’ 2019 run ended in heartbreak on Saturday night when, despite a stunning ninth-inning comeback, they fell 6-4 to the Astros and officially lost their bid for the AL pennant. Now, facing a long offseason, there are a few decisions to be made.
One of those falls on the shoulders of outfielder Aaron Hicks, who told reporters that he “thinks he can continue playing without Tommy John surgery.” It’s unclear whose recommendation he’s basing that decision on, however, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch points out that Tommy John surgery was recommended during the slugger’s most recent meeting with Dr. Neal ELAttrache.
Hicks originally sustained a season-ending right flexor strain in early August and held several consultations with ElAttrache and the Yankees’ physician in the months that followed. He spent two and a half months on the 60-day injured list and finally returned to the Yankees’ roster during the ALCS, in which he went 2-for-13 with a base hit and a Game 5 three-run homer against the Astros.
Of course, a handful of strong performances doesn’t definitively prove that the outfielder is fully healed — or that he’ll be able to avoid aggravating the injury with further activity. Granted, Tommy John surgery isn’t a minor procedure; it’s one that requires up to a year of rest and rehabilitation before most players are cleared to throw again. Should Hicks wait to reverse his decision until he reports for spring training in 2020, though, it could push his return date out by another six months or so.