Tag: Fausto Carmona

Cleveland Indians' catcher Carlos Santana waits for his turn at bat during their MLB spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale

Springtime Storylines: Will the Cleveland Indians build on last season or take a step backward?


Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2012 season. Up next: Cleveland Indians.

The Big Question: Will the Cleveland Indians build on last season or take a step backward?

Cleveland got off to an unexpectedly tremendous start last season only to fade badly down the stretch, finishing below .500 and 15 games behind a Detroit team they actually led as late as mid-July. Despite going 33-40 after the All-Star break the Indians still improved by 11 games compared to 2010 and 15 games compared to 2009, which seemingly makes them a strong candidate for another step forward this season.

However, there’s reason to be skeptical. For one thing Asdrubal Cabrera is an even stronger candidate to come back down to earth, at least a little bit, following an out of nowhere power breakout, and midseason blockbuster pickup Ubaldo Jimenez hasn’t looked like himself since early 2010. Beyond that the Indians’ runs scored and runs allowed totals suggest they were more like a 75-win team last season instead of their actual 80-82 record.

Toss in the now-annual hope that Grady Sizemore can return to his previous stardom having already been dashed by knee surgery and Fausto Carmona’s status being totally up in the air thanks to the revelation that he’s not actually Fausto Carmona and … well, the Indians have some big question marks. Fortunately they also have several players capable of much bigger things than last season, chief among them star-in-the-making Carlos Santana, star-who-was-injured Shin-Soo Choo, and promising second baseman Jason Kipnis.

What else is going on?

  • Kipnis has secured the starting second base gig, but the Indians opted not to hand third base to Lonnie Chisenhall and instead gave the job to veteran Jack Hannahan. He’s an excellent defender at third base, but Hannahan is a 32-year-old career .231 hitter with just 24 homers and a measly .358 slugging percentage in 400 games. Presumably he’s just keeping the position warm for Chisenhall, but if Hannahan playing everyday is combined with Cabrera and Casey Kotchman regressing the Indians may struggle to score runs.
  • Chris Perez was brilliant while emerging as the Indians’ closer in 2010 and at first glance he was excellent last season as well, converting 36-of-40 save opportunities with a 3.32 ERA. However, his strikeouts per nine innings plummeted from 8.7 to 5.9 and his average fastball velocity dipped 1.2 miles per hour, which is a worrisome combination. If he gets back to missing more bats the Indians’ bullpen has the potential to be very strong with Vinnie Pestano, Rafael Perez, Dan Wheeler, Joe Smith, and Tony Sipp in setup roles, but Perez is trending in the wrong direction.
  • Sizemore and Travis Hafner returning to their former glory is wishful thinking at this point, but Choo should be able to bounce back after missing 77 games and performing poorly in a season filled with multiple injuries and a DUI arrest. Prior to last season Choo was one of the best, most underrated all-around outfielders in baseball, hitting .302 with a .397 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage from 2008-2010.
  • Cleveland gave up top prospect Drew Pomeranz and solid prospect Alex White to get Jimenez from the Rockies at midseason, only to see him struggle down the stretch while showing significantly diminished velocity. Between his contract and the cost to acquire him the Indians paid for Jimenez to be an ace, but since going 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA in the first half of 2010 he’s 14-20 with a 4.39 ERA in 283 innings spread over 47 starts and his fastball was missing 2-3 miles per hour last year.

How are they gonna do?

Based on the progression from 65-97 to 69-93 to 80-82 the Indians look ready to make another big jump this season, but instead their question mark-filled roster makes me think another season around .500 seems more likely. That should be enough to make another run at second place and perhaps even remain in contention for the division title into the second half, but it’s tough to see the Indians hanging with the Tigers all year long unless just about everything breaks right.

Report: Juan Carlos Oviedo faces six-week suspension

oviedo getty

Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez) is still in his native Dominican Republic, working to finish the assigned hours of community service that stand between him and a freshly-stamped work visa.

But community service won’t be the end of his punishment for years of committing identify fraud.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Major League Baseball will suspend Oviedo for six weeks once he is cleared to return to the United States. MLB was planning on also suspending him for two weeks of spring camp, but Opening Night is now just days away.

Oviedo, 30, tallied 36 saves in 42 chances last season as the Marlins’ closer. Miami won’t have to pay any part of his $6 million salary for 2012 while he is suspended and/or on the restricted list.

Something to think about: Oviedo turned himself in at the dying request of his father and is still being given a stiff, six-week punishment by the MLB commissioner’s office. What does that mean for a guy like Roberto Hernandez (formerly known as Fausto Carmona), who was outed by another person?

Fausto Carmona loses $4.5 million in guaranteed salary for 2012

Fausto Carmona, Roberto Hernandez Heredia
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Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com recently reported that the Indians restructured the contract of Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, following his arrest on false identity charges in January. Now we know the details.

According to the Associated Press, Hernandez will make $2.5 million as a base salary in 2012 and can earn an additional $2.7 million in performance and roster bonuses. He was previously set to earn $7 million this season after the Indians picked up his club option in October. His $9 million option for 2013 was also reduced to $6 million, but he has a chance to make an additional $3 million in bonuses based on innings pitched.

Of course, Hernandez won’t earn a dime until he is removed from MLB’s restricted list. He recently reached a deal to have his false identity charges dropped in exchange for completing a work program in his native Dominican Republic, but he is currently awaiting a work visa to return to the United States.

Indians restructure Fausto Carmona’s contract amid false identity charges

Fausto Carmona, Roberto Hernandez Heredia

Fausto Carmona agreed to participate in a work program in exchange for false identity charges being dropped in the Dominican Republic, but the story is hardly over.

Carmona has yet to receive clearance for a visa and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the man now known as Roberto Hernandez Heredia has agreed to have his contract restructured by the Indians.

No word yet on the specifics because the Indians are so far declining to comment, but Carmona/Heredia was set to earn $7 million this season and his contract also includes a $9 million option for 2013 and a $14 million option for 2014.

According to Heyman the restructuring involves eliminating one of those options, which presumably must be 2014. And regardless of whatever his restructured salary is, Carmona/Heredia won’t make any money until he returns to the United States and is removed from the restricted list.

Roberto Hernandez Heredia works out deal to have false identity charges dropped

Fausto Carmona, Roberto Hernandez Heredia
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According to the Associated Press, Roberto Hernandez Heredia struck a deal to have his false identity charges dropped in exchange for completing a work program in his native Dominican Republic.

Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, was placed on baseball’s restricted list in January after he was arrested for faking his identity. He is currently preparing for the season at the Indians’ complex in the Dominican and hoped to receive a judicial pardon in order to resume his playing career in the United States. We don’t know the details of the work program yet and he may still have trouble obtaining a visa, so the timeline for his return is unclear.

The Indians picked up Hernandez’s $7 club million option last October, but he won’t be paid as along as he remains on the restricted list.