Carlos Carrasco Named to Starting Rotation Over Josh Tomlin
The final piece of the puzzle has finally been put in place. After a month of speculation, the Indians finally announced on Wednesday who would be the final member of their starting rotation. The battle, which originally started out with about five to six legitimate candidate ended up becoming a two-horse race. In the end, it was Carlos Carrasco who won the job and was named to the starting rotation over Josh Tomlin.
Carrasco earned the starting spot thanks to his lively arsenal of pitches, top of the rotation potential, and, perhaps most importantly, his current contract status. As we have mentioned several times over the past week or so, Carrasco was out of minor league options. Because of that, he had the inside track towards being named the fifth starter, or a member of the bullpen at the very least.
Thanks to a series of successful starts, combined with the aforementioned options issue, Carrasco did enough to earn the trust of Terry Francona and the rest of the Indians coaching staff. This is a big step for Carrasco as well. While he has made appearances at the big league level and been granted opportunities to succeed in the past, this feels like his last chance at proving once and for all that he can be a starter at the big league level. If he can’t, Tomlin will be waiting in the wings.
Speaking of Josh Tomlin, the decision to name Carrasco to the starting rotation should not be viewed as a slight against him. For all intents and purposes, Tomlin had a spectacular spring on the mound. As I have outlined repeatedly over the past week, Tomlin had pitched better than Carrasco for the majority of spring training. However, he has an option left. Carrasco did not and it proved to be the main factor in the cash conscious Indians choosing one over the other. As a result of the move, Tomlin was optioned to Triple-A to begin the year.
So with that, the Indians will begin the season with a starting rotation that features Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco. Justin Masterson is set to start Opening Day in Oakland with Danny Salazar making the first start of the season at home at Progressive Field.
In addition to Carrasco, two other players received good news on Wednesday. Relievers Scott Atchison and Blake Wood were awarded the final two spots in the Indians bullpen. They will team up with John Axford, Vinnie Pestano, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Josh Outman, and Marc Rzepczynski to form the Indians eight man bullpen to begin the season.