Carlos Carrasco wins the fifth starter job; Josh Tomlin sent to Columbus

Orlando Cabrera

Carlos Carrasco

The Horseshoe Casino be on Ontario and Prospect, but they’re rolling the dice two blocks south. In addition to Carlos Santana being named the Cleveland Indians’ Opening Day third baseman, per multiple reports, Carlos Carrasco has won the fifth starter job.

While it may appear that it’s a great week for Carlos’, it could be argued that both men landed in their positions more out of necessity. While Lonnie Chisenhall made the 25-man roster, his role will be more versatile this season, splitting time between third base, designated hitter and sporadic pinch-hitting roles—all predominantly when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound. In Carrasco’s situation, the flame-throwing hot head is out of options while Josh Tomlin (who was optioned to Triple-A Columbus) is not. Rather than Tomlin being handed the fifth starter role (after a solid Spring Training) and crow-barring Carrasco into the bullpen at the expense of a more-worthy arm, the Indians took the business route that will allow for flexibility at a future point if the 26-year-old can’t figure things out.1

Carrasco finished the spring with an ERA north of 5.00 but did manage to strike out 16 (while walking just three) in 15 2/3 innings. He can miss bats with the best of them, but it’s the mental state that has gotten the best of him. Tribe fans should get their first glance at Carrasco when the team hosts the Twins next weekend. Let’s hope it’s a prolonged one.

(Image: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

  1. They’re widely expected to carry eight bullpen arms, meaning that both Scott Atchison and Blake Wood will make the final cut. []
  • boomhauertjs

    My guess is that Tomlin has the job by Memorial Day, if not sooner. Carrasco’s head is a better fit in the bullpen.

  • nj0

    Cool

  • mgbode

    Hopefully we get more Tabasco and he takes a strong hold onto the job. Definitely an uneasy feeling with him as it seems like he can lose it at anytime. But, might as well roll with it.

    http://media.giphy.com/media/BATKCeSgvYvgk/giphy.gif

  • Byron Mason

    Sucks for Tomlin, but it was the smart play. Keep him stretched out in the minors until someone craps out or is injured.

  • CB Everett

    Yep, as much as I think Tomlin is a seasoned pro, a “battler” and a legit 5th starter in this league, this was the right move roster-wise.

    Plus, this signals in big flashing letters to Carrasco that it’s his last real chance at the rotation–which will hopefully light a fire (a productive fire). If he implodes, then the brass can at least rest easy knowing they gave him enough cracks at it (ala Chisenhall).

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Absolutely agree why they are trying Carrasco in the rotation again is beyond me. It’s why I would have preferred they hang onto Harang (Atlanta scooped him up after all of the injuries to their SP) and demote Tomlin since he had options left.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    They should have kept him in the bullpen where he could continue to improve on something rather then put him back in the rotation to possibly fail again.

  • Steve

    They’re going to need more than five guys in the rotation, and most teams usually end up using 10. Teams, especially in small markets, can’t afford to eliminate SP options.

  • CB Everett

    1. Based on his interviews, he desperately wants to be a starter (and would get pouty in the pen–and less likely to develop). 2. Like Steve said below, we need all the SP we can get. 3. The training wheels are off. He’s 26 and has the tools. Now is the time to sink or swim at this.

  • Wow

    Makes sense, Tomlin will be ready to step up when Carlos blows it by Memorial Day.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I realize that Steve but he has shown he is unable to be counted on as a starter. He was making strides as a reliever why change, again? More importantly to your point why release Harang? This is what I was saying just yesterday.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He couldn’t be pouty anywhere the way he has pitched especially as a SP.

  • http://www.wahoosonfirst.com Ed Carroll

    .

    Tomlin should be vertical depth and nothing more, hopefully.

  • Steve

    And the team thinks he made strides as a starter this spring.

    And Harang was not on the 40 man roster, there was no place to keep him.

  • davelb87

    Though it seems inevitable, I never understood the appeal of an 8-man bullpen. If you have a closer plus two lefties and two righties who are all reliable, you are ahead of the majority of MLB teams (including the Tigers). Throw an innings eater into spot #6 and you’re left typically with a collection of has-beens and never-will-bes shuttling between AAA and the big team hoping to catch lightning in a bottle as the #7 reliever. Adding an 8th seems like little more than a second #7 at the expense of a useful glove or bat off the bench.

  • Kildawg

    I could see this move coming. Best case scenario is that Pitching Miracle Worker Mickey Callaway makes Carrasco look like 2013 Ubaldo Jimenez. Worst case scenario is that Carrasco continues to be a head case and is DFA (even imploding in the pen). Either way, the Indians need to add more SP depth as Tomlin and Bauer won’t be enough (mainly because the latter needs more development in Columbus).

  • cmm13

    in total agreement that this is another Callaway project; it’s either boom or bust time fo Carrasco.

  • Kildawg

    It would be the best thing for the team if Carrasco works out, and the 8 man bullpen helps provide a cushion in case he implodes again. Hopefully Francona/Callaway can help him keep a level head and Gomes being the catcher will help (not just him, but the entire staff) as well. If Carrasco does bust then it makes the Cliff Lee deal a total failure.

  • nj0

    In 2011, Tomlin had an ERA+ of 93, same as Kazmir last year.

    He’s hardly a bad back of the rotation pitcher. When healthy.

  • nj0

    Players do improve.

  • woofersus

    I think you have to give it a try since last year was his first back from tommy john. He may very well end up back in the bullpen, or even never pull it together at all, but he’s more valuable as a starter, and he has a tantalizingly high ceiling. Also, unlike Bauer last year, Carrasco was VERY good at AAA, and his advanced stats indicate that despite some problems that were clearly of his own making at the major league level, he wasn’t quite as bad as his outcomes seemed to indicate. They say control comes back last after UCL surgery, and if he can locate that heater, he is really tough to hit.

    I think that at this point once he gets sent to the bullpen he’s done as a starter for good. I think it makes sense to not make that decision in March.

  • http://www.wahoosonfirst.com Ed Carroll

    One-season samples are pretty meaningless to me. That said, most of my concern with Tomlin comes from his complete inability to miss bats and the Indians’ piss-poor infield defense. Not a good combo.

  • http://www.wahoosonfirst.com Ed Carroll

    Though Calloway certainly deserves some credit for helping to fix Ubaldo’s mechanics and earning the trust of the staff, we should probably stop acting like he’s grabbed guys with no talent and turned them into studs. 2013 wasn’t even close to Ubaldo’s or Kazmir’s best years. Carrasco was a top prospect before. Lots of good SPs take till their late 20’s to blossom.