How much longer should Carlos Carrasco pitch for the Mets?

Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. Is it time for him to ride off into the sunset? 

Carlos Carrasco is 36 years old; remember that famous line from Moneyball?

“We’re all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children’s game. We just don’t know when that’s gonna be. But we’re all told.” 

If you’ve been watching the New York Mets this season, then it’s pretty difficult to believe Carrasco has much time remaining in the bigs. At the time of this writing, Carrasco is sporting a frightening 11.42 ERA, to go along with a horrifying 1.96 WHIP.

Nothing he does works. His fastball is lifeless. His breaking balls are rolling up there, basically sitting on the plate. He’s tossin’ beachballs not baseballs, as the old saying goes.

Now, I’m writing this piece prior to Carrasco’s Sunday start at the hapless Oakland A’s, so there’s a possibility we’ll end up with some fool’s gold there. If there’s a team that Carrasco can somehow “trick,” it’s probably the A’s who don’t even seem to be trying that hard to actually win games.

But in terms of evaluating a Major League pitcher, this upcoming start shouldn’t matter either way, right?

Mets: How much time does Carlos Carrasco have left in MLB?

Just look at the “stuff”: Carrasco’s fastball velocity has dipped to an all-time low. His “patented” put-away slider looks more like a little league breaking ball still finding its way in life. There’s nothing there. There’s nothing left.

Unfortunately, “Cookie” is a bit of a fan favorite, so this one could sting when the Mets ultimately have to pull the plug. But the reality is right here: The Mets are gonna be better off in the long run with a rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Kodai Senga, Tylor Megill and David Peterson. The latter two are young and need to continue developing — Carrasco is simply getting in their way at this point.

So while Carrasco danced out of jams to put together a decent season last year, that simply isn’t happening this season. I honestly think he got lucky a lot of the time last year — many hard-hit outs at critical junctures in tight games. Those things have a funky way of evening out over time.

In the end, it’s GM Billy Eppler’s time to step up. The Mets are playing decent ball, and the big pieces — Verlander, Scherzer, Senga, Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo — are in place.

It’s the fringes where the Mets fall short of the Astros, Rays, Braves and Dodgers of the world. New York has quite a bit of dead wood and lost causes in Carrasco, RP Dennis Santana, DH Daniel Vogelbach, OF Tim Locastro, C Tomas Nido and 3B Eduardo Escobar.

This is where Eppler has to step up and let the most talented players shine: Francisco Alvarez behind the dish. Brett Baty, Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio on their collective way up from Triple-A. And on the Carrasco front, move on from him – a decision that gives Megill and Peterson the space they need to breathe and thrive in the Mets’ rotation.

It’s a hard call to make, but ultimately I think Carlos Carrasco’s run as an effective MLB starting pitcher is over.

John Frascella is a published baseball author who has been covering the MLB for 19 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things MLB, NFL and NBA throughout the year. 

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