Héctor Carrasco

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Héctor Pacheco Carrasco

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Biographical Information[edit]

In his career, Héctor Carrasco pitched for seven major league teams as part of fourteen total organizations. He was the property of two expansion teams - the Florida Marlins in 1993 and the Arizona Diamondbacks, in 1998 - but played for neither, then was part of the first edition of the Washington Nationals in 2005.

Carrasco pitched in 647 games in his twelve major league seasons - all but 10 in relief. He made his major league debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 1994, already on his fourth organization. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Mets in 1988, moved to the Houston Astros as a free agent in 1992, was sent to Florida (along with Brian Griffiths) for reliever Tom Edens in one of the first trades made by the Fish during the 1992 expansion draft, then went to the Reds after the 1993 season as player to be named later in the trade that had brought Chris Hammond to Florida prior to the season. Héctor had a very good rookie season in 1994, with an ERA of 2.24 and 6 saves in 45 games. In 1995, he fell to 2-7, 4.12 with 5 saves in 64 games, but the Reds made it to the postseason. Héctor pitched 1 1/3 innings in the 1995 NLCS when the Reds were swept by the Atlanta Braves, the only postseason appearance of his career. In 1996, he was 4-3, 3.75 in 56 games for Cincinnati and started 1997 1-2, 3.68 in 38 games when, on July 15th, the Reds sent him and Scott Service to the Kansas City Royals for Jon Nunnally and Chris Stynes.

Carrasco struggled over the second half of 1997, with a 1-6 record and 5.45 ERA. The Royals left him unprotected for the expansion draft and he was picked by Arizona. In what proved a poor show of talent evaluation, the D-Backs waived him at the end of spring training, a strange decision for a team that struggled in its inaugural season due to a lack of good, big league pitching. The Minnesota Twins claimed him and he gave them a few solid seasons, beginning in 1998 when he was 4-2, 4.38 in 63 games; he also picked up his first save since 1995. His 1999 season was shortened by an injury, but he continued to be a solid major league reliever, going 2-3, 4.96 in 39 games at the height of a high-scoring era. In 2000, he went 4-3, 4.25 in 61 games, then was sent to the Boston Red Sox in early September for Lew Ford. He was 1-1 with a 9.45 ERA over the final month and his services were not retained.

Héctor was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays early in 2001, but failed to make the team out of spring training, was released and ended up back with the Twins. He was 4-3, 4.64 in 56 games in his fourth season in the Twin Cities in 2001. He was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2002, but did not make the team and did not pitch professionally that year. In 2003, he signed with the Baltimore Orioles and was very good for the AAA Ottawa Lynx to start the year (4-2, 2.22 with 4 saves in 23 games). He was called up on June 29th, spending the remainder of the season with the O's. He had a typical year for him - 4-6, 4.93 in 40 appearances out of the pen. He spent the 2004 season in Japan, pitching for the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, bombing as a closer before being moved to middle relief. He was 8-8 with 5 saves and a 5.57 ERA in 53 games. Carrasco was back in the States in 2005, this time with the Washington Nationals in their inaugural season in D.C. It was one of his best years, as his ERA was a minute 2.04 in 64 games and his record 5-4 with 2 saves. That performance opened some doors and, in 2006, he signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that paid him close to $3 million per year - paydirt for a journeyman. He did well enough in the first year - 7-3, 3.41 in 56 games, but struggled mightily in 2007, with a record of 2-1, 6.57. He made his last appearance on a major league mound on June 30th and was released two weeks later.

Carrasco had a 1.29 ERA for the Pittsburgh Pirates in spring training in 2008 but was released before the season began, as the Bucs balked at paying him real dollars. He inked a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs in May, and was assigned to the Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League. He pitched pretty well - 5-6, 3.86 in 42 games - but did not earn a call up. In 2009, he went to play in the independent leagues; it did not go well, as with three different teams, he was a combined 1-2, 8.53. He tried his luck in the Mexican League in 2010, but a 10.22 ERA in 6 games for the Diablos Rojos del Mexico did not cut it and he went back to the indy leagues. He had a decent 3.83 ERA in 41 games for the Shreveport-Bossier Captains, but that was in the relatively weak American Association; in the stronger Atlantic League, he was beat up to the tune of 1-4, 8.88 in 5 starts for the Newark Bears. He then pitched for the Dominican national team in the 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament. Now 41 years old, he could by all means have hung up his cleats, but instead he went back to Mexico with the Petroleros de Minatitlan in 2011. Lo and behold, he found his groove back. In 20 relief appearances, his ERA was a sparkling 2.53 and he racked up 10 saves, showing there was still life in the old right arm. He did walk more batters than he struck out, so even that success was the result a bit of good luck. He saw some time back with Shreveport-Bossier as well as the Bridgeport Bluefish, finishing his career with a 5.09 ERA in 38 games with two teams in the Mexican League in 2012.

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