The Indians have slashed prices on starting pitchers – there are deals to be had on slightly used pitchers with identity issues! They’re priced to move (except you may not be able to move them out of the Dominican Republic).
There has been a lot of news this week on Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia. As Susan mentioned, his charges were dropped in the Dominican Republic in exchange for community service. Now the Indians have announced that they’ve restructured his contract. Set to make $7 million this season after the Indians picked up his 2012 option, Carmona/Hernandez is now reportedly set to earn $3 million with some performance bonuses. He also had club options for 2013 and 2014, but the 2014 option has been eliminated and the 2013 option, originally $9 million, has been reduced as well. According to Paul Hoynes at the Plain Dealer, it’s been reduced by at least a third. This means that Carmona will make significantly less in 2012 and 2013, and as a trade-off, can become a free agent one year sooner.
All of this is contingent upon the fact that Carmona/Hernandez is able to secure a visa and return to the Indians. He’s currently on the restricted list, which means that he doesn’t take up a roster spot and does not receive any money. Even though the charges were dropped, there’s still no idea of when Carmona/Hernandez could rejoin the team. There are reports that he’ll have to finish his 150 hours of community service before he would be allowed to leave the Dominican Republic. Plus he’ll still have to deal with U.S. officials since he entered the country on fake documents for a number of years.
One thing that’s a concern to me is what happens if he makes it back to the U.S. in the relatively near future and rejoins the Indians. Has he been sticking with a conditioning program in the Dominican Republic? What if he comes back and isn’t in good enough shape for the regular season? He could either end up pitching terribly (of course he could do that even if he’s in shape), or getting hurt because he wasn’t properly conditioned.
Carmona/Hernandez has claimed that he’s trying to simulate Spring Training in his native Dominican Republic, and the Indians received video of a 50-pitch simulated game. It sounds like the Indians really have no idea of the shape that he’s in at this point. General Manager Chris Antonetti mentioned that players on the restricted list have been allowed additional time to work on their conditioning in the minors. If true, Carmona/Hernandez may be able to spend time at extended Spring Training or at one of the Tribe’s minor league affiliates.
All of this – the restructured salary and the conditioning issues – mean nothing until Carmona/Hernandez is able to obtain a visa and return to the United States. That could be in two weeks, or it could be in two months. Even though the Indians cut a deal compared to Carmona/Hernandez’s original salary, until he’s back in the U.S. and off the restricted list, he won’t see a dime of it.