The 19-8 season of 2007 crafted by, then, Fausto Carmona, is a distant memory.
Since, the big righty has had one winning season and an above 5.00 ERA in three of four seasons.
Oh, and Fausto Carmona isn't his name. And he is 31, not 28.
In the same offseason that saw the stingy Cleveland Indians front office give a high risk starting pitcher $8M, the same man was arrested in the Dominican Republic for false identification.
The front office saw a pitcher with a huge upside who was a fan favorite and despite his struggles, racked up strikeouts. He was given a contract extension over proven fan favorite, yet similary struggling Grady Sizemore.
Interesting how both wound up being retained by the tribe, yet neither, were on the opening day roster.
Rumors have circulated that Hernandez, formerly Fausto Carmona, will return to America and to MLB. However, the question remains, will he ever be an impact for the Cleveland Indians playoff runs?
Since, Fausto's 19-8 campaign in 2007, he has noticeably struggled. To his defense, there is a reason the Indians front office took on the $8M contract this off-season. He is big, hard-throwing, racks up strike-outs, stays healthy and eats up innings. Not bad for a fourth or fifth starter.
The Cleveland Indians starting rotation opened the season with a top three of: Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Derek Lowe.
The top three of the rotation are locked in and Roberto Hernandez, if he returns, would not be placed in-between those three.
Starter four or five is where Hernandez could have an impact for the Tribe. Those slots are currently filled by Josh Tomlin, 12-7 and 4.25 ERA last season, and spring training phenom Jeanmar Gomez.
If Hernandez comes back and proves he is reliable, there will be a spot for him on the roster.
Gomez in his brief time in the majors has proved to be a quality spot starter, but little more. He is very young and potentially could blossom into more. However, it is unclear if he can last a full major league season. Despite Carmona's struggles, he has pitched many of innings in each of the past five seasons.
The same can be said for Tomlin. Although he reminds many of die-hard Tribe fans of a young Charles Nagy, he does not have the potential of Roberto Hernandez. Tomlin's 10-14 wins a season with a 3.50-4.25 ERA will be a wonderful compliment to the top three of this rotation.
If Roberto Hernandez returns to the Indians and is able to make 25 starts, he is still capable of double digit wins. The front office offer of $8M this offseason is proof they feel the same.
It is also quite possible Roberto Hernandez is never an impact again for the Cleveland Indians.
If Jeanmar Gomez surprises MLB like Fausto Carmona did in 2007, Roberto Hernandez is the frightening sixth wheel in a five wheel machine.
Although Hernandez will likely return to the Cleveland Indians at some point during the 2012 campaign, his staying power is purely determined by his performance.
Unfortunately for Indians fans, he isn't capable of being a middle of the order power hitter. From the looks of opening weekend, starting pitching will not be the Achilles Heel this season.
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