Carmona Contract One To Build On

Fausto Carmona has two immediate plans for the big money he will be paid by the Cleveland Indians over the next seven seasons. One: He's building a house for his parents on their hillside farm in the Dominican Republic. Two: He's finally going to pay first-base coach Luis Rivera the pair of $20 fines he owes him. Other than that, the right-hander's only immediate focus is to keep pitching well.

The first four seasons of Carmona's contract are guaranteed through 2011 with the club holding options for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons. He would earn $43 million in base salary over the seven years with the chance of getting as much as $48 million by meeting certain criteria built into the deal.

"I'm very happy and would like to thank the Indians for showing confidence in me," Carmona shyly said through his interpreter, Rivera.

The coach laughed when Carmona answered a question about what he would do with his riches. "He said he's going to pay me those fines," Rivera said. "It was for something minor, I don't even remember what it was."

What Rivera and all the Indians will never forget is how Carmona pitched in 2007. His performance was the key reason the team matched the record guaranteed deal ($15 million) given to a pre-arbitration starting pitcher.

"This contract secures one of the best talents and toughest competitors in the game for the long term," said Indians Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark Shapiro. "In doing so, it is a great reward for Fausto's hard work and performance, and continues to demonstrate ownership's commitment to sustaining a championship team by retaining our most talented players."

Carmona reluctantly admitted through his agent, Jorge Brito, that he is having a house built for his parents.

"That's the kind of man Fausto is," Brito said. "He does things for people and doesn't want headlines. He helps children at home. He helps his family, but he doesn't want to talk about it."

Shapiro and assistant general manager Chris Antonetti, who handled much of the negotiations, both repeatedly spoke of Carmona's dedicated work ethic as being part of the reason they were willing to give him such a long deal.

Carmona said he learned at an early age to work hard, doing so on the family farm that grows rice, beans and citrus.

The 24-year-old said he learned to love baseball as a little boy, watching games on television, and that his only hero was right-hander Pedro Martinez.

Carmona went 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA in 32 starts a year ago, finishing fourth in the American League Cy Young voting that was won by teammate C.C. Sabathia. Carmona posted the second-lowest ERA in the AL to the Angels' John Lackey (3.01), his 19 wins were the most by an Indians pitcher since Bert Blyleven won 19 in 1984, and were the most by a Tribe right-hander under the age of 24 since Hall of Famer Bob Feller in 1941.

He also finished seventh in the AL in winning percentage (.704), tied for first in double plays induced (32), tied for 10th in innings pitched (215) and was third in slugging percentage allowed (.352).

Carmona was 9-4 with a Major League-best 2.26 ERA in 15 starts in the second half and won AL Pitcher of the Month honors in September after going 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA in five starts.

2007 AMERICAN LEAGUE ERA LEADERS
1. John Lackey, Angels, 3.01
2. FAUSTO CARMONA, INDIANS, 3.06
3. Dan Haren, Athletics, 3.07
4. Erik Bedard, Orioles, 3.16
5. C.C. SABATHIA, INDIANS, 3.21

MLB LEADERS, ERA, SECOND HALF OF 2007
1. FAUSTO CARMONA, INDIANS, 2.26
2. A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays, 2.32
3. Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays, 2.39
4. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks, 2.56
5. Roy Oswalt, Astros, 2.57


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