Thursday, April 10, 2008

Indians re-sign Fausto Carmona, striking fear in the hearts of midges everywhere

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2008 at 4:35 PM

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Having not listened to the radio or read any news before heading to the Indians 3 p.m. press conference today, I was hoping it was either an announcement that Jason Michaels and David Dellucci had been genetically and surgically combined to form a complete baseball player – sort of like the reverse of Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear Stuck On You -- or that I had called up from the minors to be the Indians' official clubhouse beer taster, a duty I would have embraced fully and honorably, presuming you think it's honorable to stuff Budweisers in your socks. Turns out, it was something even better. Fausto Carmona is going to be in Cleveland for a long, long time. ... The Indians signed 24-year-old Carmona to a long-term deal today, adding chapter No. 12,574 to the book by the organization on how to keep good young players under contract before they hit arbitration and free agency. Nobody does it better, and nobody has done it longer than the Tribe, inking similar deals with Travis Hafner, Jake Westbrook, and Grady Sizemore. In a deal worth somewhere between $43 and $48 million, depending on escalators and options, Fausto will remain an Indian through the 2011 season, with club options for 2012, 2013, and 2014. “When we’re looking at a player, we want them to be smart and tough,” says GM Mark Shapiro. “I think there may not be a guy that is more reflective of that toughness and baseball intelligence than Fausto.” Speaking through his translator, Fausto came across as shy, soft spoken, and humble as he looked – and even though Fausto’s comments lasted approximately 10 seconds per answer, his translator, first-base coach Luis Rivera, spoke for minutes on end, kind of like silent-movie subtitles. So I’m not sure who was saying what, but it sounded good. “He knows there was one year when he didn’t have a good year, but the Indians stuck with him, and he’s very proud of what he’s accomplished, and he wants to be part of the organization for years to come,” said the leather-jacket clad man who spoke for Fausto. With C.C. likely heading to warmer, richer, more coastier waters after next year, it’s nice to have Fausto locked up as the ace for the foreseeable future. Although when asked about it, Fausto said – actually the guy said, but, well, you get the point -- that he is happy being the number two guy in the rotation and wants Sabathia to stay with the Tribe. And what is Carmona doing with his newfound riches? Nothing, really. He’s just going to finish the house he’s already started for his parents, both farmers, in the Dominican Republic, and take care of his family. A family man and badass enough to take down the Yankees while being dive-bombed by midges – or as Casey Blake called them, “small pterodactyls”? Definitely the guy I want on the mound for me. -- Vince the Polack

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