Carlos Carrasco has visited several different countries this offseason, including a stop in Qatar to watch soccer’s World Cup.
But whether the Mets right-hander will have a trip to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on his itinerary in February for spring training remains in question.
Following the Mets’ whirlwind spending spree last week that brought Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana and Kodai Senga to the rotation, it’s hardly a given that Carrasco will return, with a trade as a realistic option. But Carrasco certainly understands the business side of the game.
“I have been in baseball for a long time,” Carrasco said Tuesday at Target on Queens Boulevard, where he participated in the Mets’ Holiday Shopping Spree that purchased gifts for children from Women in Need. “This is not the first time [if] I get traded. The only thing I can say is just continue to get ready for spring training and if it happens, it happens.”
Carrasco, who turns 36 in March, pitched to a 3.97 ERA in 29 starts for the Mets last season and pencils in as the fifth starter behind Max Scherzer, Verlander, Quintana and Senga. But the Mets could also deal Carrasco and give a younger arm such as Tylor Megill or David Peterson a full-time shot in the rotation next season. Or the Mets could look toward the free-agent or trade market for another arm that would be a potential upgrade.
The Mets deliberated before last month picking up Carrasco’s $14 million option for next season because of concerns about him physically. Carrasco’s contract carried a $3 million buyout, essentially turning the option into an $11 million decision.
Until told otherwise, Carrasco is assuming he will remain with the Mets, who acquired him from Cleveland in the trade that brought Francisco Lindor to Queens before the 2021 season. The Mets surrendered infielders Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario in that deal.
“I am really happy with the additions,” Carrasco said. “We have got Verlander, and [Jacob] deGrom just left, but it was nice to play with him and have him as a teammate, but the additions that we have we are happy for and I cannot wait to get to spring training and start practicing and getting ready for the season.”
As for his vacation that included taking in World Cup matches, Carrasco considered it enlightening.
“I had never been to the World Cup and I went with my wife, it was really nice,” said Carrasco, a native of Venezuela. “You know how the playoffs are here, the emotion and how loud it is, but over there it is completely different and the experience that I had was really nice.”
Carrasco’s teammate Daniel Vogelbach participated in the Holiday Shopping Spree and indicated he was disappointed deGrom departed — the ace received a five-year deal worth $185 million from the Rangers — but it was reassuring the Mets had a backup plan in Verlander, a three-time Cy Young award winner.
“I was only here for a short time [last season], a lot of guys played with Jake for a long time,” Voglebach said. “Everybody knows how good he is on the field and as a human being he was great to me.”
“He was a great person, great teammate and I am glad I got to play with him for the short amount of time, and you replace him with a guy that has been super successful and one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for a long time. Any time you get to surround yourself with greats in this game you try to learn.”
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