The Mets have picked up the option for 2023 on right-hander Carlos Carrasco, giving them two starting pitchers for next season. Carrasco, a 35-year-old Venezuela native, remains under contract through next season and will earn $14 million.
Had the Mets elected to cut him loose, he would have received a $3 million buyout to become a free agent.
The Mets also extended qualifying offers to right-hander Chris Bassitt and outfielder Brandon Nimmo. Outfielder Terrance Gore was outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse but declined the assignment and elected free agency.
Carrasco was acquired in January of 2021 in the trade with Cleveland that brought back Francisco Lindor in exchange for shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, minor league pitcher Josh Wolf and minor league outfielder Isaiah Greene. He went 16-12 with a 4.51 ERA in two seasons with the Mets, struggling at times as he tried to increase his workload after recovering from Leukemia and the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
In 2021, Carrasco was sidelined with a hamstring injury that kept him out of action for four months. When he returned, he went just 1-5 with a 6.04 ERA as the Mets fell out of playoff contention.
But Carrasco was a reliable back-end option for the Mets in 2022, going 15-7 with a 3.97 ERA and a 3.53 FIP. He missed a few starts late in the season with a strained oblique but still managed to throw 152 innings, the most he had logged since before the cancer diagnosis.
Carrasco was not used in the postseason with the Mets getting eliminated before needing him to make a start. However, Carrasco said his body and his arm felt great and that he would have been not only available for a postseason start but confident that he could have pitched well. It was a feel-good season for a player trying to make his way back to where he was before his diagnosis.
Carrasco provides the team with a veteran presence on the back end and will join right-hander Max Scherzer in the rotation. The club has a few more spots to fill but the pieces are starting to fall into place.