August 26, 2014

MLB News: Roberto Hernandez signs with Philadelphia

Roberto Hernandez, nee Fausto Carmona, has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million with the Philadelphia Phillies. There is an additional $1.5 million he could gain in incentives.

Famous for his spectacular 2007 season and his name change/age ordeal that cost him most of 2012, Hernandez was 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 32 games (24 starts) for the Rays last season. He was a fairly consistent innings-eater, but now is just 31-57 in the last five years.

With the rising cost of starting pitching, Hernandez’s money is not as surprising as it might seem at first. He earned $3.25 million last year with the Rays, but little was known about what he would bring to the table. Despite his sub-par numbers (-0.6 WAR), he at least was healthy and pitched 150 innings. It’s only a one-year low-risk deal.

The now-33-year-old is being called upon as a veteran No. 5 starter for the aging Phillies. He could perhaps have more success in the National League. ESPN Insider’s Keith Law was one of many on Twitter who couldn’t pass up on the obvious joke with him in Philadelphia.

[Related: MLB Rumors: Indians possible destination for Joaquin Benoit and Shawn Marcum]

How good of a starting prospect is Danny Salazar?

danny salazarThe Cleveland Indians must have seen something in Danny Salazar before everyone else — and their early belief has paid off in a big way.

After the 2011 season, Cleveland’s organization surprised a lot of people by placing the 21-year-old right-hander on the official 40-man roster. Salazar actually had only made 15 starts in the previous two years because of Tommy John surgery and still hadn’t made it past the Single-A Midwest League with Lake County.

Yet, nearly 18 months after being protected from possible Rule 5 poaching, Salazar is rewarding the Tribe with the hottest start of any pitcher in professional baseball. In fact, following his fourth straight magnificent performance for Double-A Akron on Monday, he announced his own promotion to Triple-A Columbus on Twitter. And now, it’s time to wonder if he might be the best home-grown Cleveland pitching prospect in years. [Read more...]

Tampa Bay Rays closing in on Roberto Hernandez / Fausto Carmona

After seven seasons with the Indians, it appears that Roberto Hernandez (Carmona) will not be back again. After a wild off-season that saw his true identity revealed, and a mostly down 2012 when he finally did appear in some games, Hernandez is reportedly close to signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hernandez had some moments with the Tribe and gave fans a spectacular 2007 that he was never able to live up to in subsequent years. He battled control issues despite having pretty spectacular movement the entire time. In the end Hernandez lost 69 times compared to 53 wins in his seven seasons. He started 153 games and pitched nearly 1000 innings.

It will be interesting to see what kind of career Hernandez is able to create for himself from this point forward. Will it be in the rotation or will he go back to his roots as a rookie and hit the bullpen? One thing’s for sure, it won’t be in Cleveland anymore.

[Related: Newest Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer in videos]

MLB News: Indians pick up option on Jiménez, decline Hafner and Hernandez

The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has exercised the 2013 club option of right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez. Also today, the Indians declined the 2013 club options for designated hitter Travis Hafner and right-handed pitcher Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona). 

Jimenez, 28, went 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA in 31 starts for the Indians in 2012 (176.2IP, 190H, 106ER, 95BB, 143SO).  For the season he averaged 7.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched, 16th among American League starting pitchers and tops on the Tribe pitching staff.  He recorded his 12th career double-digit strikeout game on August 9 vs. Boston (10SO) and over a 16 start stretch from June 10-August 31 he fanned 94 batters in 91.1 innings of work (9.3SO/9.0IP). His best month came in June, recording an ERA of 2.78 in 5 starts (32.1IP, 25H, 10ER).

As WFNY’s TD wrote earlier this week, the Indians have invested so much in Jiménez; giving up on him now would not be prudent. “$5.75 million is well worth giving him another shot to turn things around under a new pitching coach, yet to be determined,” penned TD.

Hafner hit .228 (50-219) in 2012 between two stints on the disabled list while Hernandez was limited to 3 August starts (0-3, 7.53ERA) in 2012.  Hafner and Hernandez are both eligible for free agency.

[Related: The Tigers Get Swept, Your Boy Rejoices, And The Tribe Decisions Three Days Away]

The Tigers Get Swept, Your Boy Rejoices, And The Tribe Decisions Three Days Away

It is funny to me how once the World Series rolls around, most people I know are all but done with baseball. It is almost the exact opposite of the NBA and NFL where the sport becomes even more popular at the end. In case you missed it, the San Francisco Giants used their incredible pitching, great defense, and clutch hitting to dispose of the big bat lineup of the Detroit Tigers. On the east side of Cleveland, as the clock struck midnight, your boy was lying in bed with a smile.

The free-spending Tigers desperately wanted to win a World Series for owner Mike Illitch (and his hair). Illitch, Dave Dombwoski, and Manager Jim Leyland thought they were built for this title. They had their pitching lined up the way they wanted it and came in smokin’ hot off a sweep of the New York Yankees. The Giants, who faced  six straight elimination games and won them all heading in, seemed to be the big underdog. Their best two pitchers wouldn’t go until games three and four and they were sending Barry Zito up against Justin Verlander in Game One.

If you had the Giants sweeping four straight with all of that factored in, then you are either a liar or you had a copy of “Grey’s Sports Almanac.”

If anything was learned in this series, it’s that once again great pitching always beats great hitting. Two years ago the Giants did the exact same thing to the Texas Rangers and their All-Star laden lineup. Need I remind you of the 1995 World Series? [Read more...]

A’s 3 Indians 0: Small Attendance, Smaller Offense

If you were one of the alleged 13,018 in attendance last night, I salute you. You are a real diehard. The rumor is the Indians season ticket base is about 8,500 or so. When STO made the not so wise decision to show overhead or long view shots of Progressive Field, it looked as though there were 3,500, maybe 4,000 tops in the stands. The Dolan family, Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, and the rest of the front office should prepare themselves for crowds like this not only the rest of the way, but into next season. When the product on the field looks like it did last night, or for the last five weeks for that matter, can you blame people for not wanting to come?

The Oakland Athletics, a team constructed the same way as the Indians (i.e. low payroll) rolled into town as one of, if not the, hottest teams in baseball. Look up and down their lineup, and it won’t impress you. Their biggest name is Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, who is essentially toiling in anonymity because he plays in Oakland. Next to him, the biggest name you know is Coco Crisp. The difference between these two teams is simple – the A’s have terrific young starting pitching, while the Indians don’t. [Read more...]

Indians Roster Notes: Lopez Released, Tomlin to Have Arm Evaluated

For the fourth time this month, the Indians announced today they have released a veteran player DFA’d 10 days earlier. This time, it was utility infielder Jose Lopez, following in the footsteps of, chronologically, Johnny Damon, Jeremy Accardo and Derek Lowe.

Indians beat writers, who had a nice Twitter fling with Lopez throughout the season, were saddened by the announcement:

In other notable Indians roster notes, recently-converted reliever Josh Tomlin will have his right arm examined in Cleveland this week. He was originally rumored to see well-known specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum while the team is in Southern California this week, but supposedly the doctor is unavailable.

According to various Twitter reports, Tomlin has fought elbow soreness dating back to last season, possibly resulting in his poor performance to date this year: 5-8 with a 5.82 ERA in 20 games (16 starts).

It’s very possible that Tomlin will be moved to the DL this week to make room for Roberto Hernandez, who is scheduled to start Wednesday. It is also possible that lefty Chris Seddon or righty Corey Kluber also could go back to Columbus, while outfielders Matt LaPorta or Russ Canzler could be activated from the Clippers roster (h/t @MLBastian).

[Related: Contention Windows and Depth Charts: Analyzing the Cleveland Indians’ Future]

Roberto Hernandez to Start Wednesday Against Angels

Starting off today’s media availability, Indians manager Manny Acta shared that Roberto Hernandez (Fasuto Carmona) will be activated to start Wednesday’s game against the LA Angels. WTAM’s Nick Camino was the first person to put the news out on Twitter.

Hernandez, who was discovered to be 32 years old in the offseason, was eligible to be activated by the Indians today after his three-week MLB suspension. He made his final rehab start for the Columbus Clippers last night and it was by far his best performance. He earned the win in allowing just one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out five against one walk.

In his six-year MLB career with the Indians, Hernandez is 53-66 with a 4.59 ERA in 181 games (150 starts). He peaked in 2007 — which is more logical now, since he was 26 years old then — in finishing fourth in the Cy Young voting. He went 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA that year.

In the pending roster move, it will likely be either lefty Chris Seddon (0-1, 5.06 ERA) or righty Corey Kluber (0-0, 6.10 ERA) going back to Columbus. Both have made just two starts for the Indians after pitching all season for the Clippers.

[Related: Contention Windows and Depth Charts: Analyzing the Cleveland Indians’ Future]

Rotation Situation Is A Disaster

And I thought being swept back to back by the Twins and the Royals was rock bottom. I obviously thought wrong.

I seriously couldn’t decide where to go with this piece. The weekend in Detroit was an abject disaster. However, it was a mere add-on to a week that was a complete house of horrors from our Wahoos. Whatever could go wrong for this team, has gone wrong. The Tigers outplayed the Tribe in every single aspect of the game. They out-hit, out-pitched, out-ran, and out-defended the Indians. It was more of the same.

The Wahoos have lost nine in a row, going 0-fer during this nine game make or break road trip through three AL Central cities. It was the first time in the history of the franchise they have gone 0-9 on a road trip.

GM Chris Antonetti, who to me is dangerously close to losing his job with the way his moves last season (the Ubaldo trade) and this past winter (re-signing Grady Sizemore and then not properly backing that mistake up, not giving a third year to Josh Willingham, etc) have backfired, built this team with pitching and defense as its defining characteristic. Instead of flourishing and watching this staff grow, we are witnessing one of the worst rotations in the American League. How does a 36-49 record with an ERA of 5.15 sound to you? [Read more...]

WFNY Wednesday Wahoos: Indians Minor League Weekly Review 8/1

Each and every Wednesday, I try to bring you all of the news and notes from the Cleveland Indians minor league system. Enjoy.

With lots going on in the minor leagues compared to the slumping Indians, there’s plenty to digest in today’s Wahoos. Here are some of the highlights: two red-hot outfielders in Columbus, the latest 10 prospects update, another link roundup from around the web and my analysis of yesterday’s 1B/OF Lars Anderson-RHP Steven Wright trade. [Read more...]

Roberto Hernandez Gives Up Five Runs in Rehab Start in Columbus

Roberto Hernandez took to the mound Tuesday afternoon in Columbus. Hernandez made his first start at single A Lake County last week. Today he pitched against AAA pitching and the results were quite different. (Five IP last week, one earned run.)

Hernandez pitched five innings, allowing nine hits and five runs (all earned) while walking a pair and also striking out two. He is still serving a suspension, and won’t be eligible to pitch for the Tribe for another two weeks, no matter what the team does (or likely doesn’t do) at the trade deadline today. (4pm.)

[Related: Roberto Hernandez gets visa]

Roberto Hernandez Gets Visa, Will Be In Cleveland This Weekend And Then Serve 3-Week MLB Suspension

Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, was granted a visa and will return to the United States on Saturday night and meet with reporters at Progressive Field on Sunday, according to Paul Hoynes of the The Plain Dealer. Stephen Payne, the lobbyist who worked on the right-handed pitcher’s behalf, told Hoynes that Hernandez must serve a “brief” suspension before returning to the club. Hoynes reports that the suspension will be three weeks, making Hernandez available on August 11th.

Payne seemed confident that Hernandez will be playing again for the Tribe, and Hoynes indicated that he will start rehab assignments soon:

“I do know Roberto will be playing baseball for the Cleveland Indians — if he’s physically ready — sometime in August,” said Payne.

Hernandez is scheduled to throw a simulated game next week for the Indians coaching staff. He will then go on a rehab assigment to the minors. He’ll need at least three to four starts to get ready.

The suspension is somewhat unexpected, as the Indians claimed that Hernandez would not receive a comparable punishment handed down to the former Leo Nunez of the Marlins, now Juan Carlos Oviedo.

[RelatedDominican Baseball: Fool me Once…]


Report: Indians restructure contract for Roberto Hernandez (Carmona)

According to Jon Heyman of CBS sports, the Cleveland Indians have restructured the contract of Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona)-

“Sources: fausto carmona (heredia) contract has been restrcutured/reduced. 2012 salary was lowered and 1 option eliminated”

“Carmona (heredia) was to make $7M in 2012. Now far less than that. #indians have no comment on situation.”

So, assuming Hernandez is able to come back to the States, he will apparently be playing for less.

[Related: Charges Dropped in Fausto Name Case]

Report: Fausto Carmona / Roberto Hernandez gets charges dropped

The long nightmare that has been Robert Hernandez’ life over the last few months might be over. According to an ESPN report, the former Mr. Carmona has struck a deal.

Dominican Republic prosecutors say Cleveland Indians pitcher Roberto Hernandez has agreed to a deal to have false identity charges against him dropped in return for completing a work program in his Caribbean homeland.

What remains to be seen is exactly when that means Roberto Hernandez will be available to rejoin the Cleveland Indians. Still, this has got to be considered the first good news of the year for the Indians with regard to their one-time Cy Young vote getter.

MLB News: Indians name Justin Masterson opening day starter

The question of whether it would be Ubaldo Jimenez or Justin Masterson on opening day has been answered and Masterson is getting the nod. The 6’6″ 26 year-old had a pretty impressive year last year for the Tribe winning 12 games with a 3.21 ERA for the year. Masterson was a workhorse too, starting 33 games for the Indians.

It is a nice honor to get the nod as the opening day guy, but ultimately it doesn’t mean that much. Last year’s opening day starter was Fausto Carmona / Roberto Hernandez. That show of support from the Indians to Hernandez ended up sending him on his way to 15 losses and an ERA north of 5 for the season.

Anyway, Masterson gets the nod over Ubaldo Jimenez who looks to regain his #1 form that he established as a member of the Colorado Rockies.

Indians opening day is Thursday April 5th in Cleveland against the Toronto Blue Jays. No word yet as to who Masterson will be up against.

You can still get opening day tickets for as little as $15 from WFNYTickets.

Roberto Hernandez Urging Young Dominicans to “Be Honest”

It didn’t take very long for Fausto Carmona to officially become Roberto Hernandez. But it took even less time for Hernandez to turn his arrest and subsequent name change into a story to be used for future generations.

Per The Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes:

Hernandez has been visiting independent baseball camps on the island since Feb. 7. After he speaks, he hands out T-shirts to the players. On the front is printed this message in Spanish: “In Truth, There is Triumph.” Hernandez’s name is on the back with his number (55).

Arrested just under two months ago, Hernandez is now using his place in baseball as well as Dominican lore to educate and speak out against individuals who may attempt to “take advantage” of the next generation of potential MLB talent.

While Hernandez will not join the Indians as pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona in the coming days, but he is expected to be with the team once his legal issues have been cleared.

[Related: Is the Tribe Down On Jeanmar Gomez?]

Antonetti: Fausto Carmona is Officially Roberto Hernandez

In a recent sit-down with the Plain Dealer, Cleveland Indians general manager Chris Antonetti stated that the team has received documentation that starting pitcher Fausto Carmona is officially named Roberto Hernandez (Heredia).

Arrested in January under suspicion of false identity, Hernandez, who was the recent recipient of a $7 million club option under his alias, was also found to be 31 years of age — three years older than believed by the team. The player was recently placed on the restricted list, meaning that the team holds no obligation to pay him until he is able to join the Indians.  Antonetti did make it clear that, once cleared by the Dominican Republic, Hernandez would be welcomed back to the team.

In six seasons with the Tribe, Carmona has a record of 53-66 with an ERA of 4.59.

Since the arrest, the Indians have traded for starting pitcher Kevin Slowey and coming to terms with free agent Jon Garland.

[Related: MLB Trade Rumors: Would You Trade Travis Hafner for A.J. Burnett?]

(Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Setting the Lines for the 2012 Indians

I like very much when people take firm and decisive stands on things.  For example, “I don’t drink. It’s against my religion.” Or “I’m a vegetarian; it’s the only ethical stance to take.” Or “I believe that Gremlins are real and breeding in the sewers of Montreal.”

I bring this up not because I am one of these principled folks—only that I admire them.  For example, as silly as I know gambling to be from an analytical perspective, every time I end up in Vegas I find myself sitting for hours at a black jack table—even though I know it to be an illogical pursuit that will slowly drain my wallet.  I wish I had the fortitude to take a stand, walk past the degenerates, and enjoy the sunshine.  Turns out, I don’t.  I belong with the degenerates. [Read more...]