Phillies former prospect Carlos Carrasco is officially the ace of the Cleveland Indians
Coming off their World Series championship in 2008, the Phillies were instant contenders with very few changes occurring on the field during the offseason. Veteran Pat Burrell went unsigned, and was replaced by former Seattle Mariner Raúl Ibañez.
The club also brought in veteran pitcher Chan Ho Park to help solidify the starting rotation behind their young World Series MVP, Cole Hamels
Unfortunately, Brett Myers was injured, and Hamels and Kyle Kendrick were not as sharp as they were the previous year. Chan Ho Park was also moved to the bullpen in favor of future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who was essentially signed off the street during the season.
With a shot at back-to-back World Championships on the line, first-year General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. felt compelled to acquire starting pitching depth in the form of Cleveland Indian Cliff Lee. In order to complete this trade for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco (who was merely a throw-in) the Phillies traded their top prospect, Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, along with Class A right-hander Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson, and infielder Jason Donald.
Lee was brilliant during the course of his Phillies career, and nearly led them to two more World Series rings.
But the core of the Phillies championship squad slowly began to fade away. Ryan Howard tore his achillies, Chase Utley had chronic knee issues, and the once-perfect bullpen scattered.
While the Phillies were acquiring outdated veterans such as Placido Polanco, Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Ross Gload, Juan Castro, Cody Ransom, Roy Oswalt, Brian Schneider, and Mike Sweeney throughout the course of 2010, Carlos Carrasco was working his way up through the Cleveland Indians farm system.
In 2011, Carrasco underwent Tommy John surgery after getting limited major league time and missed the entirely of the 2012 season. He made his major league return in 2013, but pitched horribly. He allowed seven runs in less than four innings, and was ejected after hitting Red Sox Kevin Youkilis.
After bouncing between the big leagues and the minors, Carrasco finally started to see things click. He signed a four-year extension worth $22 million at the start of the 2015 season, but was hit by a line-drive just seven days later.
Despite the misfortunes throughout his career, between being traded, injured, and designated for assignment, Carrasco has evolved into the ace of the Cleveland Indians pitching staff.
Leading a group of young pitchers such as Cory Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and Danny Salazar, Carrasco has started to dominate opposing hitters.
He struckout 14 batters in 7 1/3 innings on June 30th, earning his fourth win of the season after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the season. He won 14 games in 2015, while striking out 216 batters in 183 2/3 innings.
They say you have to give up talent to acquire it. The Phillies certainly gave up something good back in 2009 for Cliff Lee. While it didn’t turn out exactly how Amaro Jr. had hoped, it was fun while it lasted.