The Mets announced that right-hander Carlos Carrasco underwent surgery Tuesday in New York to have a bone fragment removed from his throwing elbow. No specific timeline was given on Carrasco’s recovery, except that he will “resume baseball activities later this winter.”
2021 was already an injury-riddled season for Carrasco, who tossed only 53 2/3 innings over 12 starts after suffering a torn right hamstring during spring training. Initially projected to miss between six to eight weeks, Carrasco instead didn’t make his season debut until July 30 and then didn’t look like himself in posting a 6.04 ERA. Carrasco’s 4.44 SIERA was more flattering, but his 21.1% strikeout was by far his lowest since the 2013 season (when Carrasco tossed only 46 2/3 innings in his first year back after Tommy John surgery).
It could be that the bone fragment was a factor in Carrasco’s lack of results, so with this procedure now in the books, the veteran might be able to return to his old form in 2022. As nondescript as the wording of the Mets’ press release was, the fact that Carrasco will be able to do some type of offseason prep provides something of a positive view that he’ll be ready for spring training.
In the bigger picture, of course, another injury is naturally a concern for a pitcher who is entering his age-35 season and already has a significant history of health issues. Beyond the Tommy John surgery, Carrasco missed three months of the 2019 season battling leukemia before making a stirring return in September as a reliever out of the Cleveland bullpen and then pitching well as a starter (2.91 ERA/3.91 SIERA) over 68 innings in 2020.
Carrasco is entering the last guaranteed season of the four-year, $47M extension he signed with Cleveland in December 2018. The righty is set to earn $12M in 2022, and the Mets hold a $14M club option ($2M buyout) on Carrasco for 2023 that vests into a guaranteed deal if Carrasco tosses 170 innings next season and finishes the year with a clean bill of health. After acquiring Carrasco as part of the Francisco Lindor blockbuster last offseason, the Mets are certainly hoping for more in Carrasco’s second year with the team, especially since both Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard could leave in free agency this winter.