Fausto Carmona, whose real name is reportedly Roberto Hernandez Heredia, was arrested in the Dominican Republic on Thursday for allegedly falsifying his identity. We’re slowly learning more details about how he was exposed.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez reported on “Outside the Lines” yesterday that Carmona was outed several weeks ago on a popular radio show in Santo Domingo by the mother of the real Fausto Carmona.
You can watch video of Gomez’s report here.
The belief is that Carmona has been paying the family of the real Carmona for the use of his identification and refused to increase hush money payments after the Indians picked up his $7 million club option for 2012 in October. Carmona made $6.1 million with the Indians last season. The U.S. government began an investigation after Carmona was outed on the radio show and he was arrested when he went to apply for his work visa earlier this week.
Carmona was released from jail yesterday on $13,000 bond. He’s actually 31 years old, three years older than previously believed, so many have wondered whether the Indians have just cause to void his contract. According to the Associated Press, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti refused to comment on the situation yesterday, only saying that they are “still gathering information.”
At the very least, it appears the Indians are preparing for the possibility that Carmona will not be granted entry into the United States in time for the start of the season. The club acquired right-hander Kevin Slowey from the Rockies yesterday as some insurance for their starting rotation.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.