Let’s discuss the first item of business, that being the case surrounding Fausto “Robert Heredia Hernandez” Carmona. Your guess is as good as anyone’s as to what his name is, was or will be in the future. The Indians brass have already said until this fiasco is settled, they will call him Fausto Carmona. Yet the United States government calls him Robert Hernandez.
Imagine the mother of the real Fausto. She has to be wondering “What did I do?” It was her, allegedly, who tried to get more money out of Hernandez/Carmona. According to reports, Hernandez wanted to use her son’s birth certificate and identity to enter the US illegally and begin his baseball career. He offered her money to do so and she agreed, allegedly taking a payment every year.
But then came this year’s increase in pay to Hernandez/Carmona. The mother asked for more money, Hernandez/Carmona balked, and she spilled the beans on a Dominican Republic radio interview. Not only has she steamrolled Hernandez/Carmona’s career, but now she will get nothing but headaches from the US Consulate in her home country.
Meanwhile, back in the States, the Indians have been planning for the upcoming season. In the Cleveland way of course and not to the liking of Tribe fans anywhere.
First VP Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti made overtures to Carlos Beltran, but he would have none of it. Then came the offers to Carlos Pena, who went back to Tampa; Roy Oswalt, Derrick Lee and they finally got their man in Casey Kotchman.
Kotchman hit .306 in 2011 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs in 146 games for the Rays last season. The Indians signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract this offseason. Kotchman will replace Matt LaPorta as the Tribe’s full time first baseman.
What the plans for LaPorta are still are undecided. Since being acquired in the C.C. Sabathia deal with Milwaukee three years ago, LaPorta has yet to show the hitting ability he portrayed in college and the Olympics. But to replace him, Antonetti has gone back to a disturbing pattern he has shown during his one year tenure as GM of the club.
Antonetti seems to like to stockpile this club with assets it already has. Last year the pitching carried the team and a bat was needed at the trading deadline. Instead of going after Hunter Pence of Houston, who would have fit nicely into the Indians lineup in Right field, he went after Ubaldo Jiminez, another pitcher on the decline from Colorado. On top of that, Antonetti traded away the top two pitchers in the team’s farm system for Jiminez.
Now, with Kotchman, Antonetti has gone out and signed a left handed hitter. Just what the team needed. As it stands right now, entering training camp, the Indians starting lineup on opening day is projected to include seven left-handed hitters and two switch hitters. What the Indians need is a right handed hitter, yet again Antonetti is either unwilling, or incapable or acquiring one.
Starting Monday, March 5th at 9pm, join Dave Mitchell and Mark Donahue as they chat about the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds, along with the exploits of the Central Divisions they belong too. From Spring Training through the playoffs, we will be speaking with reporters, players and fans about each team and others in the Central Division.
“Ohio Baseball Weekly” will start Monday night, March 5th at 9pm.