Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays sign former Indians RHP (and former Fausto Carmona) Hernandez to 1-year deal
Posted Dec 18, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Dec 18, 2012 at 08:03 PM
By ROGER MOONEY
ST. PETERSBURG The Tampa Bay Rays finalized a one-year deal on Tuesday with right-hander Roberto Hernandez for $3.25 million contract plus incentives.
Hernandez, formally known as Fausto Carmona, will compete for a spot in the rotation during spring training but could end up in the bullpen during the regular season.
“Right now we’re confident that he’s going to help us get meaningful outs and continue to allow our pitching to be a strength,” Rays executive vice president of baseball Andrew Friedman said. “We’re not sure exactly what role we’re going to use him in, but obviously he has a lot more experience starting than being used out of the bullpen, so we feel like there is a lot of upside with him, and with his groundball tendencies he’ll fit in extremely well with our infield defense and what we’re envisioning it to be in 2013.”
The former Cleveland Indian starter was arrested in January 2012 in his native Dominican Republic for using a false document to obtain a visa. It was then learned that his real name is Roberto Hernandez and that his birth date, Dec. 7, 1983, is under question.
Hernandez did not reach the United States until July and served a three-week suspension. He suffered a season-ending sprained ankle Aug. 27.
“Obviously last year was a lost year for him in a lot of respects, but we feel like this is one of those risk/reward stories that makes a lot of sense for us,” Friedman said. “The upside is really compelling and gives us a chance to add to our pitching depth, which is something that is a focus for us in a way that it hasn’t been in recent years.”
Hernandez finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2007 when he was 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA and was named to the 2010 American League All-Star team.
Hernandez will help the Rays pick up some of the innings lost when James Shields was traded to the Kansas City Royals earlier this month. He could add a veteran presence to a young rotation or he can be an innings eater out of the bullpen.
“We’ll bring him into spring training, stretch him out as a starter and see at the end of spring what makes the most sense,” Friedman said. “We feel he has a lot of upside and he fits in extremely well within the composition of our roster, and he’ll help us win games on way or the other.”