I am extremely there for the Carasiti/Caratini battery in Iowa that was made possible by the trade the Cubs swung Monday night.
Lefty Zac Rosscup, who had been DFA’d in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Mark Zagunis, was traded to Denver for righty Matt Carasiti. Primarily a closer by trade, Carasiti has notched 13 saves at AAA Albuquerque and has racked up 66 saves across four levels of the minors.
A sixth round draft pick out of St. John’s in 2012, the 25-year-old Carasiti features a mid-90’s fastball that he complements with a splitter and change. There’s a cutter that he goes to very infrequently, though it did grade out as his only pitch with positive value during his cup of coffee last season.
This is one of those deals that could end up working out really well for the Cubs, if only because Rosscup was in limbo and any return in that situation should be viewed as a positive. But Carasiti has some potential. Though he put up a 9.19 ERA for the Rockies last season, the numbers may be deceiving. He pitched only 15.2 innings over 19 appearances and his 4.49 FIP was less than half of that bloated ERA.
The Cubs got to see Carasiti up close when he made two appearances against them and actually notched his only win in the first of those. Truth be told, it was more of a not-loss, as he allowed a go-ahead run and was then aided by an Aroldis Chapman blown save that was at least partially facilitated by a Javy Baez error. With three earned runs allowed on five hits across two innings, Carasiti’s performances were less than memorable otherwise.
The big problem last season appeared to be walks, of which he issued 11 in his limited action with the Rox (6.32 BB/9). He’s generally kept the free passes in check, though, and is at a not-great-but-acceptable 3.86 BB/9 to go with 12.76 K/9 with at AAA this season. Performing in high leverage in the minors is not quite the same as doing so at the next level, but he’s at least got some stuff to work with.
Because he’s not on the 40-man, adding Carasiti to the organization won’t come at the expense of anyone else. It also may mean he’s not as likely to assume a spot in the caravan of pitchers the Cubs have been using at the back end of the bullpen. At least not right away. Still, he does present an intriguing option down the road.
Now watch this end up being the only move the Cubs make for pitching prior to the deadline. Except don’t, because it won’t be.