Mark Topkin is reporting (via Twitter) that the Rays contract with Roberto “I’m not allowed to call myself Fausto Carmona anymore” Hernandez, is a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. And if that is not enough, it includes $1.85 million in incentives (likely based on innings pitched and/or games finished).

That is potentially $5.1 million for a player that will most likely be a long reliever or a groundball specialist most of the year. Even if the Rays are planning on using Hernandez as a starting pitcher (which would make the salary more reasonable), how much of an upgrade is he over Jeff Niemann or Alex Cobb, who would be replaced in the rotation?

I typically don’t complain about money spent by the Rays*. Any money spent is better than no money spent. But if the Rays now turn around and are forced to sign another Brad Hawpe or Hank Blalock to be the DH savior, this signing is going to be the reason.

And once again the Rays will have an awesome bullpen that will be called upon to protect 3-1 deficits.

* I believe the last time I complained about a contract was Kyle Farnsworth. And my biggest beef with that one was the second year. And that one ended up a lot like this one. The Rays paid $6 million for what turned out to be one decent year.



  1. MrDewMaster says:

    I’m with you Cork. We need to score runs more than we need more pitching. I’m tired of watching one run games. And with Toronto’s moves we’re looking even weaker this year.

  2. Drew says:

    That is almost unbelievable. I’m confused as to how they think he will be that much better than Badenhop. Maybe the incentives are very difficult to reach (I’m hoping so). I feel like it shouldn’t be that difficult to find a pitcher with that type of arsenal and GB% for less money.

    • Beth says:

      I keep thinking that Badenhop must have some dark secret that makes teams want to unload him for virtually nothing.

      • Raysfan137 says:

        I think people just don’t understand why he is successful (relative to his price, of course), so they figure the Hopper just got lucky and its going come back to bite him. So they unload him before it happens. His stuff is good, but not that good. And he did get rocked a time or two early in the season for us.

  3. Dave L says:

    The Rays must have researched this one pretty good, right?

    According to the internets all his appearences after his rookie year 2006 were as a starter.

    I have to think that maybe at that kind of money he is coming here to compete for a spot in the rotation??? Thats alot of money for 50 to 60 innings max? It makes no sense. Maybe this means we will be trading one of the Royals new guys or Archer?

    I hope they make him finally legally change his name to Fausto Carmona that is one of the coolest latin baseball names ever. Beats the heck out of Bob Hernandez i can see why he went with it

  4. Rob says:

    Yeah, that makes no sense to me whatsoever.

  5. Joe says:

    Never got this, as soon as I saw the rumor, I felt “why not keep Hopper?” Oh well, just keep him in the pen please.

  6. Bill says:

    First, let me say I don’t like it either.

    But…. Honestly I was iffy on the Rodney signing. Somebody knows more than me.

    Btw – I might have read it wrong, but got the impression that the incentives were part of the 3.25 not in addition to. That would make it slightly (emphasis) more bearable.

    • Joe says:

      The incentives are an addition. I don’t care about overspending once in the while if you have no other real needs but we need a C, a DH and to at least discuss long terming Myers…

  7. MrDewMaster says:

    At Dave L. Great point. Perhaps this is a sign we will be trading another starting pitcher for a bat.

  8. Bill says:

    Minutes ago the Rays official release referred to him as a starting pitcher. Might not mean anything, or… Might be more evidence to Dave L’s point.

    Meanwhile, I know off topic, but claim Russ Canzler off wavers from Tribe! Or is there something I don’t know about him ? They just DFA’d him to make room for Reynolds.

  9. Erick says:

    I smell a trade coming….only way this makes sense

  10. Alex says:

    Haven’t we learned to not question the Rays moves when it comes to pitchers? He’s going to be a long reliever/emergency starter. It actually makes sense. He throws in the mid 90′s with good sink. He has starting experience and the Rays know how to fix pitchers. Niemann is injury prone, Cobb hasn’t always been the healthiest pitcher and Archer is still young. It’s good to have veteran experience to fall back on.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      This is this first starting pitcher free agent Friedman has ever signed. There is no track record to trust or not trust this move. And if he is long reliever/emergency starter, that’s fine. But even if he is good at that, they overpaid.

      • Joe says:

        Friedman has that bucket list and he still wants to have a 3way

      • Alex says:

        You’re getting picky there. They’ve never signed a starter to a major league contract no, but the chances of him actually starting on a regular basis are slim. What I meant was when the Rays sign pitchers to contracts with high dollar values you trust them. Fernando Rodney, Farnsworth etc… You know what I mean Cork…

      • Alex says:

        I’m guessing you thought they overpaid Rodney, Howell, and Farnsworth too. We’re not the Royals or Indians or Pirates. If our team was a perennial loser and we were going to instantly stick him in the rotation I could understand the uproar. But you have to remember the Rays are much smarter than we are. They saw a guy with the kind of stuff that Fausto has (~93 mph sinker) that they figure they can fix. He will be very valuable if he keeps his era under 3 and can pitch in DP, long relief and spot start situations. They probably didn’t like the free agent market for relievers this year and obviously we don’t know who else was trying to sign him . Also they could be doing this as a reclamation, July trade project.

  11. Bill says:

    Whatever happened to the experiment with Neimann experiment from late 2010 I think it was where he did a few bullpen stints? I thought he was pretty good and even showed closer stuff once or twice. Mayhap that’s a way to mitigate his injury issues? Other than the freak bone break mostly it has been his back, which has to fare better in the pen, right ? Just thinking outside the box a little.

    • Joe says:

      Problem with him being a RP and the reason Wade lost the SP job last year is it takes Niemann forever to warm up

      • Bill says:

        You may be right. I have noticed that even when he starts he is out beginning his routine much earlier than other starters. But I would think that could be addressed by changing his routine. I know it is light years different, but I made the transition in college about 100 years ago. Again, the experiment when he came off of DL in late 2010 wasn’t all bad.

  12. Don says:

    Toronto gets Dickey, Rays gets hernandez or whatever his name is this week….Rays keep this up they will be fighting the Red Sox for last..

    • Joe says:

      Then don’t watch the games this year, please.

      • Bill says:

        Well, said Joe. Not sure why we haven’t learned to have more faith in AF and crew. How many of you had Marlins vs. Angels in the ’12 WS during last off season ? Neither made PS. Why are we so worked up about the Jays?

  13. Dave L says:

    Right now I count 10 legit starting pitchers on the 40 man who prolly arent going to the pen anytime soon.

    Major Leaguers

    5)Cobb (earned SP job IMO)

    On the cusp


    Solid AAA

    10)Montgomery (i think)

    Two of 7,8 and 9 could be dealt although i would hope not Torres as a lefty. Otherwise we are loading up to make another run at the IL Crown. But I doubt that was a point of the dealings.

    • Joe says:

      Friedman is not going to come out and call him a RP but thats what Fausto is. My rankings are different.

      1. Price
      2. Hellickson
      3. Moore
      4. Niemann (Don’t be alarmed, he will get injured)
      5. Cobb (I think Archer and Ordazzi are more talented but they love Helly 2.0)

      Going to pen/emergency start

      1. Fausto Carmona
      2. Alex Torres (no options help him)

      Have a chance at SP in the Spring

      1. Jake Ordazzi
      2. Chris Archer

      Has a chance at RP in the Spring

      1. Mike Montgomery

      All this without mentioning Colome til now

      • Dave L says:

        Yeah but the Rays have no history of taking young guys they developed as SP and suddenly sticking them in the pen out of the blue.

        Regardless of the order we have too many starters on the 40 man so something has to give. I too love Helli and Cobb so I refuse to believe they will be traded in my hot stove world.

        You are right Torres is out of options I didnt realize that so maybe he is the odd man out for somebody like a Kendry Morales type guy.

        This is the last hope for a trade I think more realistic to contemplate than the delusional farm for Mike Stanton nonsense. Our 8th or tenth best starter for somebodies 4 best outfielder/DH RH bat whoever that may be. My guess is he will be under 33 yo. Fading old geezers like Thome just dont fit in the Rays clubhouse

  14. Joel says:

    Not sure what you are talking about with Farnsworth. First off, he had much better than a ‘decent year’ in 2011. Second, the second year was an option. Very deceiving way of portraying the deal. He got hurt in spring training. These guys can’t find bats but they are as good as it gets with pitchers. Look how much guys like Scott Feldman are getting. This is an absolute bargain. Love how Friedman talked about our infield defense and how well he fits in with that.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      In 2011 he was worth 0.9 WAR. In other words, over the course of an entire season, he was worth exactly the same as Carlos Pena was worth this season. And yes, he got hurt. Injury is the risk with giving a 35 year old pitcher with a violent delivery a 2-year deal. And yes, originally it was a 1+an option. But they didnt have to pick up the option. They did. That made it a 2-year deal.

      • Joel says:

        WAR makes absolutely no sense to evaluate relievers. Way to cherry pick stats. Farnsworth was a well above average reliever in 2011. He had a 2.18 era (in our highest leveraged innings) which isn’t a great measure but far better than WAR for a reliever. So, by that logic should we not have picked up Rodney’s option?!? Your logic makes no sense including calling it a two year deal. We can disagree on Fausto which is fine but I don’t see how bringing Farnsworth in to this makes any sense.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          Well, you should tell that to people that calculate WAR for relievers. If you prefer, we can look at WPA, which differentiates how well a player performs in important situations. Not the best indicator of future performance, but it is good indicator of how valuable a player was in a particular season. Farnsworth’s 0.88 ranked 22nd in the AL out of 59 qualified relievers in 2011. Slightly above average. That is “decent.” Joel Peralta had a 1.39 WPA that season indicating that Maddon leaned on him more for the most important outs. And I am still not sure why you are hung up on the option/not-an-option. Once they picked up the option it became a 2-year deal. It’s not like they could give the option back once he got hurt. They took a chance they could get a 2nd healthy year out of an old reliever. They were wrong.

  15. Cork Gaines says:

    One problem with the theory that a trade is coming is that this signing would seem like a big risk to take unless a trade is imminent. Otherwise there is no guarantee Rays will find somebody willing to pay the Rays’ asking price. And it seems unlikely that a deal is imminent just because this signing was anything but imminent, having first heard about it last week. I doubt the Rays would let a trade just sit on the back burner that long.

  16. deezy333 says:

    I think this may set up a Morales/Niemann trade. I would like to see them expand it to include Hank Conger, with the Rays adding one of Elliot Johnson/Sean Rodriguez (Angels need a middle infielder).

    I’m still hoping they go after Willingham and Berkman

  17. Dave L says:

    This Faux-Fausto thing is blowing my mind.

    According to ESPN “Hernandez can earn performance bonuses with Tampa Bay as both a starter and reliever.”

    So he is being brought in obviously with the understanding he will be able to at least compete for a starters role in March. But why are we offering $3.25M thats 6% of our payroll. AF is a tough negociator so who was offering him $3M+?

    Hickey and AF must be in love with this guy. Maybe that the jig finally is up and he can come out of the Carmona closet they figure he will bloom and return to All Star form?

    And maybe we overpaid to get him to accept the possible Pen move with eyes wide open?

    This is just unfathomable and introduces too many variables.

  18. Nick says:

    There is another possibility no one has seemed to consider with this signing and the Shields/Myers trade. Maybe just maybe Gerry Hunsicker was the real brains in the front office. Now that he is with the Dodgers Andrew may be in over his head. Just food for thought.

  19. Rob says:

    What I don’t understand is why so many on here think a Morales for a 4th, 5th, or AAA starter trade would even be a remote possibility. Why would the Angels give up a 29-year-old right-handed hitting DH with power who makes less than $4m? I am not criticizing anyone for thinking that, but really just asking if maybe I am missing something?

    • deezy333 says:

      Morales is a poor defender, poor baserunner, injury prone, average hitter for a 1B/DH that possesses a below average approach at the plate (below average bb% and above average k%) and a high batting average fueled by an unsustainably high babip. Although a switch hitter, is much weaker versus LHP. Only one year remaining before free agency. That why he is only worth a decent starter or reliever. I would project him as a 1.5-2 win player which is average.

  20. Rob says:

    Is it possible the Rays signing Hernandez was a move less for us and more to pinch the Angels so they make a somewhat disadvantaged trade because there isn’t much left on the FA market in the way of starting pitching? I guess Edwin Jackson is about the only viable one left. I could also see the Angels take a flyer on Oswalt and hopes he bounces back, but after that, it’s slim pickings.

  21. John S says:

    Hate to break up the party… But this is misunderstood.. The contract is WORTH up to $3.25 million that the includes $1.4 million in incentives (Read ESPN and MLBTradeRumors).

    The salary is only worth $1.4 million.

    So everyone needs to settle down and work on reading comp or sports contracts 101 (where they say the higher value when incentives are included).

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I’ve been doing this a long time and even wrote at MLB Trade Rumors for a while. NOBODY includes incentives when referring to the total value of a contract. EVERYBODY says the guaranteed value and then lists the what it could be worth.

      For example, here’s what MLBTR wrote about the James Loney signing just two weeks ago: “The Rays have officially signed James Loney to a one-year deal worth $2MM, plus an additional $1MM in incentives”

      • Raysfan137 says:

        FYI, When you make generalizations saying NOBODY and EVERYBODY like it is a component of the standard model of the universe, I kind of stop reading.

        Watch MLBTR, Twitter, FB, MLB Network, etc. It’s like a freaking race to be the first one to report stuff. People do not carefully and clearly communicate. They blast out stuff that can easily be misconstrued and miscommunicated. This very dialog is proof of it.

        People used to know that difference between the words “you’re” and “your”, too. I still don’t think we have a clear explanation of the Bob Carmona contract value.

        • Raysfan137 says:

          Topkins tweet from yesterday:

          #Rays deal with RHP Roberto Hernandez (former Fausto Carmona) is 1 year, $3.25M. Includes $1.85M in incentives, but some IP, some relief app

          Now, Cork’s experience with how these are done notwithstanding, you can clearly see that logically to say 3.25 of something includes 1.85 of something is to say that the total is 3.25. That’s where the confusion came in. He did not say includes “and additional” 1.85.

          May take now: Cork is right, but Topkin was rushing to get this out, which is NOT what I want the answer to be.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          The universe? No. But it is the standard model of how baseball contracts are reported. You give the guaranteed value. Then you give incentives and/or options.

          As for your/you’re…I have graded enough papers in my day to know that most people that make the mistake do know the difference. It is silly to assume that it is a sign of intelligence or lack of writing skills or a lack of comprehending the English language. Mistakes are made. People are typing quickly and thinking several words ahead and the brain goes into autopilot. It is an editing issue, not a comprehension/intelligence issue. I’ve made the mistake before. And to paint somebody with a broad stroke over a simple (and common) error is just silly.

          • Raysfan137 says:

            Dude – I’m agreeing with you. I even made a typo that changed the word “my” in to “may”. But I’m also pointing that over generalizing is bad.

            But I’m also disagreeing in one sense. I’m saying you can no longer apply the standard model of baseball contracts and/or reporting BECAUSE of the haste that’s out there these days, which is furthered by the social media outlets.

    • Joe S says:

      Topkin says it is “$3.25M, plus incentives.” And I havent seen ESPN, but got their information from Topkin.

      What was that about reading comp?

      • Raysfan137 says:

        Topkin also said:

        #Rays deal with RHP Roberto Hernandez (former Fausto Carmona) is 1 year, $3.25M. Includes $1.85M in incentives, but some IP, some relief app

        Which can mean the 1.85 is in the 3.25.

        That’s the reading comp issue.

        Topkin said two things. I think we should be inclined to believe the article over the Tweet, though.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          There was no problem with anybody’s reading comprehension. If anything, there was an ambiguous antecedent in the initial report (was it included in the $3.25M or was it included in the contract?). But applying simple logic made it clear what he meant.

          • Raysfan137 says:

            Well if we’re going to pick nits, let’s pick nits. Applying simple logic did not make anything clear. To apply that logic, you had to make an assumption based upon your experience and knowledge. That, by definition is not simple logic. You assumed, and are probably correct, that Topkin was using the standard model for reporting baseball contract info, and that he did not intentionally say that the 1.85 was included in the 3.25. Based upon that assumption, it is clear to you. I am inclined to agree. But that doesn’t necessarily make anything clear. I would not be surprised to yet be informed that it is the other way around. And this remains and important point to me, because I still HOPE that you are wrong. A guaranteed 1.4M is lot different than a guaranteed 3.25.

            All of that said, watch Fausto Hernandez make us all look back and laugh at this when he goes 16-7 and get comeback player of the year! Again, I need to make myself stop questioning AF’s pitching decisions. History has shown he knows waaayy more about this stuff than me.

    • Greg says:

      Actually, the MLBTR release is misleading, but it was taken from Topkin’s report. Note that Topkin says the base is $3.25M and the incentives are separate for starting (up to 1.25M) and relieving (up to $600K). So he almost certainly would not get BOTH incentives. So it’s still a lot of money for the Rays but the max would probably be $4.5M. Not much difference but maybe worth pointing out. Or not.

    • Raysfan137 says:

      I suggested this very thing last night and got wrist slapped a little for it. :)

  22. don says:

    Anyway/eitherway…the day the Rays spend $5mil. (including incentives or + incentives) for a HITTER that can hit (not Scott, Pena, Burrell) will go a long way showing me that Someone in the FO knows about who can hit and Who can’t…I’m waiting for the day..Kepp. don’t count they signed him to 1yr…. no options…so what were they thinking?

    • Rob says:

      From the FA list, who do you think that should be?

      • don says:

        What good does it good to guess?, but if I was sitting in AFs seat or even Maddon’s seat I would know EVERY Hitter in Baseball..FA or not..

        • Rob says:

          Let’s agree it takes two to tango, and that you can’t just pluck another team’s player off their roster if they don’t want to trade him. With that said, you can sign a FA tomorrow if you give him enough money and I am just wondering who, in your opinion, that should be.

          • don says:

            OK, I’ll guess, give me a list of all the FA, and a list of all the players that could/would be available for trade, I’ll do Friemans Job….MY first offer, by the way, would have been to Keppinger for $3mil. yr. for 2-3 years, before the season was over or shortly after…and I would have signed him for 1st base/DH…right under their noses…they missed..

  23. Rob says:

    Fiar enough on Kepp, if he takes $3m, though I don’t know I would have signed him for 3 years.

    The FA lists are out there. My point is there is not much to pick from, especially at the positions where we need help, which is why people on this site would actually accept a guy like Pierzynski.

    • Rob says:

      Fair enough, not Fiar enough :)

      • Raysfan137 says:

        LMAO at what you tried to do there with Don. It was noble. But you’ll never get the eternal critic to actually stick his neck out with details that could then be criticized in turn. Others have tried and failed. :)

        Meanwhile, I agree with your though process, but add to it. Not only is there not a lot out there in terms of FA bats in the Rays price range, but there isn’t a good track record there from the Rays and they know it. Kep ? He BA was good in large part because of the way in which he was used. That doesn’t automatically translate to an everyday DH who is going to drive in 90-100 runs. AF knows his chances are better finding an affordable trade than just simply finding a $3-$5M bat waiting around for him to call.

  24. Dave L says:

    Tompkin may have made one initial ambiguous note on twitter which I dont even read so i cant comment.

    ESPN, MLB and everything else I read stated the it was unambigously $3.25M PLUS $1.85M in incentives.

    It was never in doubt in my mind that $3.25M was the base.

    Raysfan its best to refer to websites with some editorial oversight than some guys late night unfiltered twitter blather.

    I have to back Cork on this one.

    Reason #2157 why im glad i never got into the Twitter.

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