Q: Any idea how the Indians are viewing the $7 million allocated to Carmona? After hearing that they supposedly beat the Rays' offer on Carlos Pena, and with my instinct being that Carmona will not be back in the U.S. this season, it seems like there might be $10-$15M to either spend now in free agency or use to take on a player at the Trade Deadline.
Does the Indians front-office thinking align with that? Or is the Carmona money seen as gone? Are there intricacies of the restricted list that affect this in ways I don't realize?
-- Andrew H., Chicago
A: It really depends on when the Indians believe Carmona will become available to them again. I do not think Cleveland is viewing his $7 million salary for 2012 as entirely available for other needs. A portion of that money might be available for other uses if the pitcher isn't able to return until midseason.
The Indians would only be responsible for a prorated portion of Carmona's salary at the time of his return through the end of the season. Once there is more clarity about when he could rejoin the club, Cleveland will obviously have a better idea of how much he will actually be paid (if he's paid) this season.
This is pure speculation, but my educated guess would be that the Indians would be better able to project how to possibly use any available funds during the season (maybe around the July 31 Trade Deadline) than in the final weeks of this offseason.
— Bastian answering my question in the latest inbox. There are some other nice factoids in the rest of the piece.