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Carlos Carrasco enters the 2021 season as an injury question mark

While he’s a very good pitcher, Carrasco’s season will not start on time.

New York Mets Pitcher Carlos Carrasco During Spring Training Photo by Alejandra Villa Loraca/Newsday RM via Getty Images

As the news that the Mets had traded for Francisco Lindor started breaking in early January, an important detail emerged: The Mets were getting Carlos Carrasco in the deal, too.

With the addition, the Mets could pencil four pitchers into their Opening Day rotation: Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and Carrasco. And since that trade, the team signed Taijuan Walker and traded for Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto, building viable major league starting pitching depth for the first time in a long time.

Unfortunately, Carrasco’s first season with the Mets will be delayed. Having dealt with some elbow soreness in spring training, which was described as a routine occurrence for the 33-year-old, Carrasco suffered a hamstring injury after a successful throwing session yesterday. That put an end to any hope that Carrasco could be in the Mets’ rotation to start the year.

For years, Carrasco has been a very good starting pitcher, and he’s been well-liked and overcame a leukemia diagnosis during the 2019 season. Given his track record before the 2019 season and how well he pitched in the shortened 2020 season, Carrasco could very well be the Mets’ second-best starting pitcher this year once he makes it back to the mound.

For now, though, Carrasco joins Noah Syndergaard and Seth Lugo as a very good pitcher working his way back from injury. Looking ahead, Carrasco is signed through the 2022 season at a very reasonable $12 million per year, and his contract includes a $14 million team option for 2023 that would be a no-brainer for the Mets to pick up if he continues pitching like his usual self.

Over the course of the 2021 season, the Mets will be worse for however long Carrasco is out, but he should still be a fun pitcher to watch and a reliable member of the team’s rotation once he recovers from the hamstring injury.