The Cleveland Indiansstill don’t know if Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, will pitch for them this season – or again.
So while awaiting the outcome to his strange case, the club restructured the right-hander’s contract.
Hernandez, recently cleared of false identity charges in the Dominican Republic, 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 had been scheduled to make $7 million this season, but the club renegotiated the amount while adding incentives for innings pitched, starts and days on the 25-man roster.
According to contract terms obtained by the AP, Hernandez will receive $200,000 when he reaches 20, 23 and 26 starts and for 150, 170 and 185 innings. In addition, he’ll get $250,000 for 95 days on the roster and then $250,000 for every 15 days up until 165.
The Indians also reduced a $9 million option for 2013 to $6 million, with any bonuses reached in 2012 tacked on. He can earn another $3 million next season in bonuses based on innings pitched.
Hernandez was arrested on Jan. 19 outside the U.S. consulate in Santo Domingo, where officials discovered his name was not Carmona – as the Indians new him as for a decade – and that he was 31 years old and not 28 as the team had believed.
The Dominican government dropped charges against him last month after Hernandez completed a work program in which he met with young players and discouraged them from changing their names to play in the U.S. Hernandez has said he wanted to come forward an reveal his true identity but was “scared to reveal what happened” after other players were caught lying about their names and birthdates.
He applied for a visa to rejoin the Indians, who were forced to make moves in case Hernandez was not allowed to return. It’s not known if Hernandez’s application has been reviewed by U.S. authorities.
Hernandez was also placed on Major League Baseball’s restricted list. As he sorts out his legal entanglement, Carmona has been working out and pitching in the Dominican Republic. The Indians have stayed in touch with him throughout the process and have even videotaped him at their baseball academy in the Dominican to track his progress.
Hernandez, who signed with Cleveland’s organization as a free agent in 2000, has had a tumultuous career with the Indians.
After going 1-10 mostly as a reliever in 2006, he went 19-8 the following season, forming a 1-2 combination with CC Sabathia that helped Cleveland get to the ALCS. Hernandez was on the brink of stardom, but after going 8-7 in 2008, he was sent to the low minor leagues in 2009 to work on his mechanics and psyche.
He bounced back and won 13 games in 2010, and although his record didn’t show it, Hernandez, who started the season opener in 2011, stayed injury free and provided valuable innings while going 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA in 32 starts.
At this point, the Indians can only hope he makes another one.