Tampa Bay Rays Sign Enigmatic Pitcher Roberto Hernandez

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IDecember 19, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez #55 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field on August 27, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays are taking a chance on embattled pitcher Roberto Hernandez. According to the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports), the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona signed a one-year deal worth $3.25 million.

He will compete to fill the spot in the rotation left vacant after the trade of James Shields to the Kansas City Royals.

Hernandez finished his seventh season with the Cleveland Indians in 2012, and it was an unproductive and bizarre year reminiscent of the Don Draper/Dick Whitman confusion identity crisis in Mad Men.

As reported by the Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated), Hernandez was suspended last season because of identity and age fraud. Not only was he not Fausto Carmona, but he was three years older than the Cleveland Indians thought he was.

He was allowed a visa from the Dominican Republic eventually, but lost all three of his 2012 starts for the Indians.

His time with Cleveland shows a hot and cold pitcher who very well might have seemed like two different people at times.

Sometimes he was brilliant, like he was when he went 19-8 and finished fourth in the 2007 Cy Young vote. He also pitched effectively in 2010. However, he was horrific his other seasons in Cleveland, posting ERAs well over 5.00 in his other three-and-a-half campaigns.

Perhaps Carmona was a good pitcher and Hernandez was hittable.

The Rays are hoping he is due for one of his good years. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote that the team is not sure if he will be in the rotation or the bullpen. But team vice president Andrew Friedman believes the risk versus reward of the deal makes it worthwhile for the team.

It depends on which Roberto Hernandez or Fausto Carmona shows up in Tampa Bay.

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