Ex-Phillies prospect, Cliff Lee trade bait lands minor league deal back with the Guardians

Former Phillies prospect Carlos Carrasco, part of the 2009 Cliff Lee trade, is rejoining Cleveland on a minor league deal.
Former Philadelphia Phillies prospect Carlos Carrasco rejoins the Cleveland Guardians on a minor league deal
Former Philadelphia Phillies prospect Carlos Carrasco rejoins the Cleveland Guardians on a minor league deal / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Following the Philadelphia Phillies' second-ever World Series title back in 2008, they loaded up again the following season at the 2009 trade deadline with hopes of back-to-back championships.

The key acquisition at the time was none other than 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, who significantly bolstered their starting rotation going into the postseason. Although it didn't end with another championship for the Phillies, Lee was instrumental in helping the team make it back to the World Series for the second consecutive year.

In acquiring the top-notch starter, the Phillies had to give up some top prospects at the time to the Cleveland Indians (now the present-day Guardians). One of them was promising right-handed pitcher Carlos Carrasco.

Now, 15 years later, Carrasco has returned to the Guardians on a minor league deal for the upcoming 2024 season. Our very own Matt Dargan previously suggested that the Phillies should look to Carrasco as possible pitching depth, but it appears Cleveland beat them to it.

The soon-to-be 37-year-old veteran pitcher was one of the key pieces that made the Cliff Lee deal happen back then, as the Indians wanted a can’t-miss, front-end pitching prospect as part of the trade package.

Carrasco turned out to be a solid MLB pitcher

Although Carrasco didn’t turn out to be a sure-fire future Hall of Famer, he has nevertheless put together a solid MLB career over 14 seasons with Cleveland and the New York Mets. Overall, he has amassed a 107-93 record with 11 complete games, a 4.04 ERA, 105 ERA+, 1.25 WHIP, with 418 walks and 1,573 strikeouts in 1,538 career innings over 303 games played.

His strongest season came in 2017 when he led Cleveland with a strong 18-6 record, 3.29 ERA and 1.10 WHIP while finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting. Last season, Carrasco struggled with the underachieving Mets, compiling his worst numbers since his debut season back in 2009. In 2023, he pitched to a 3-8 record with a 6.80 ERA and 1.70 WHIP, giving up 68 earned runs, including 18 home runs in just 90 innings.

He will now look to get himself back on track by going back to the team with which he began his MLB career. If he manages to make the big leagues again, the deal would become a solid $2 million major league contract.

Hopefully, Carrasco will get a chance to salvage whatever remains of his baseball career, but Phillies fans will always have him to thank for bringing in one of the best pitchers in the game at one point in time for their 2009 playoff run.