Indians restructure contract for Carmona/Hernandez

The Cleveland Indians still 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.