A Faustian Bargain

Before this season, Fausto Carmona had made four relief appearances in his professional career: one in the Dominican Summer League (2001), two in Burlington (2002), and one in Buffalo (2005). But the Indians needed relief help in May, and when they dumped Danny Graves off the roster, they went with Carmona, who had better stuff than many of the high-level relievers in the organization.

The problem was that Carmona became a victim of his own success. He pitched well enough to move from middle relief to a setup role, and when Bob Wickman was dealt last month, he became the team's closer. Fausto had never closed a game before, let alone pitched as a closer before. And while he probably has the best stuff in the bullpen, he didn't have any experience to fall back on when closing at the major-league level.

There are two converging goals at work with Carmona: the needs of the team now, and the long-term development of Carmona into a major-league pitcher. If the Indians feel that Carmona should be a reliever (in the long-term sense), then fine, stick with him in relief. If the front office views him as a long-term starter, then why continue this masquerade? Send him back to Buffalo, get him back in the rotation, and use someone else on the staff to close.

One of the frustrating things about pitchers like Jason Davis and Danys Baez was that the Indians never really decided what they should be. And while performance often determines a pitcher's role, Davis and Baez were often switched according to the team's needs - a big difference. I know decisions are more complex than this, but with Davis and Baez, it seemed that there was no concrete long-term plan for them. Hopefully Carmona doesn't get misused in the same way.

 

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