In his weekly Sunday morning column, The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto talked about some options internally for the Indians troubled bullpen in the second half from both sides.
The Indians are looking at Clay Rapada (1-0, 2.78) at Columbus as a possible reliever. He was 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA in the majors last season with the Yankees. He’s a side-arming lefty who has been effective against left hitters, but has major problems with righty bats.
This is my idea: Carlos Carrasco to the bullpen, rather than Danny Salazar. Former Tribe GM John Hart used to put hard-throwers who struggled as starters into the bullpen, and it often worked with Jose Mesa, Eric Plunk, Steve Karsay and Danys Baez.
The Indians’ trouble from the left-side in the bullpen is well-chronicled with Rich Hill being the lone survivor from the revolving door of Scott Barnes, Nick Hagadone, and David Huff. Rapada in his career has held lefties to a .168 average (.493 OPS), allowing 26 walks and 69 strikeouts.
It’s a common practice to bring young pitching prospects out of the bullpen for a stretch postseason run. Salazar would fit that mold, but Carrasco certainly could as well. Carrasco has great stuff and throws hard, but his results have been awful at the big league level this season (0-4, 9.10 ERA in 6 starts, 47 hits, 13 BB, 15 K in 28 2/3 IP). Carrasco has allowed nearly the same amount of hits in twice as many innings at Columbus (3-0, 2.97 ERA, 49 hits, 19 BB, 71 K in 60 2/3 IP). At 26 years old, it is getting close to make or break time for the former Top 100 prospect. Salazar is 5-5 with a 3.04 ERA between Akron and Columbus this season and pitched a six-inning, one-run gem in his Major League debut earlier this month.