CLEVELAND, Ohio — Carlos Carrasco said his family was sad to leave Cleveland, but he was glad that his teammate Francisco Lindor was going with him.
The Indians traded Carrasco and Lindor to the New York Mets on Thursday for infielders Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene. Carrasco has been with the Indians since 2009, while Lindor was the team’s No.1 pick in 2011.
As the trade was going down, Carrasco told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that Lindor called him and said, “Hey, Cookie, we’re leaving. We’re leaving together.’ I said Oh, my God.”
Carrasco, 33, has been a steady contributor to the Indians’ rotation for nearly 10 seasons. He made his big-league debut in 2009 after being acquired from the Phillies in the Cliff Lee deal.
“I learned a lot in Cleveland,” said Carrasco. “They gave me an opportunity from Day 1 on July 29, 2009 when I got traded there right up until now.
“I give them full credit for teaching me how to pitch and grow up. This is a new chapter. It’s a big opportunity for me to play with the New York Mets. Me and my family are really happy.”
He is especially happy that Lindor will be playing shortstop behind him.
“I love to play with Lindor,” he said. “I always say thank you to him. I always say from Day 1, ‘you’re a superstar.’ That’s what he is, a superstar. He knows how to do everything. I love to have have him at shortstop. Now we’re moving together and things are going to be good for us and good for the Mets.”
Carrasco will be joining a rotation that features two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz. Noah Syndergaard, recovering from Tommy John surgery, could return as well.
“I’ve been with a lot of good pitchers — Shane Bieber and Trevor Bauer, who won Cy Youngs last year. Corey Kluber won two Cy Youngs. Now I’m going to the Mets and they have deGrom, Syndergaard, Stroman … all those guys. It’s going to be really nice.
“I enjoy learning from other pitchers and other people. I like to ask questions even now when I’ve got almost 10 years in the big leagues. … It’s going to be really, really fun.”
Carrasco endeared himself to his Indians teammates and the city of Cleveland for his charity work. In 2019 he received the Roberto Clemente Award for his goodwill work in Cleveland and around the world.
He offered inspiration as well, dealing with chronic myeloid leukemia in 2019. The disease cost him three months of the season, but he returned as a reliever in September. This year he made all 12 of his starts, going 3-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 68 innings.
“I’m trying to enjoy every moment in baseball because baseball is not forever,” said Carrasco. “That’s what I’m doing right now. Enjoying this moment.”
He said when his wife, Karilis, and five children learned that he’d been traded to the Mets they were sad.
“We spent so much time in Cleveland, in the community with friends,” he said. “All that kind of stuff. They were happy because we were going to a new team and a new chapter, but to be honest with you my family was really sad.
“But at the same time this is part of the game. They completely understand what’s going on. Now I’m going to enjoy our new team, our new community and new fans and new friends.”
He said he’s going to get involved in community activities with the Mets as soon as he can.
“That’s what we love to do,” said Carrasco. “My wife and me have a pretty good team. We’ll do the same thing we did in Cleveland.”
Carrasco’s best season came in 2018. He went 18-6 with a 3.29 ERA in 32 starts. He struck out 226 batters in 200 innings.
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