The deal is for one year and $3.25 million and includes $1.85 million in incentives, based on innings pitched, either as a starter or a reliever.
Hernandez, formally known as Fausto Carmona, will likely replace ground ball specialist Burke Badenhop who was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfield prospect Raul Mondesi Jr. earlier this month, although Hernandez could start occasionally.
Hernandez, 32, pitched just 14.1 innings for Cleveland in 2012, allowing a 7.53 ERA and walking three batters against only two strikeouts, and has a career ERA of 4.6 4/949 innings of work.
In 2007 Fernandez finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting, after posting a 19-8 record with a 3.06 ERA.
He was an All-Star in 2010.
The Cleveland Indians had a $6 million club option to retain him for 2013 and declined.
Hernandez joins a Rays pitching staff that no longer has James Shields as a starter or Wade Davis in the bullpen, both players having been traded to the Kansas City Royals for prospect Wil Myers.
It remains to be seen where Hernandez will get the bulk of his work, as a starter, or as a reliever.
Typically the Rays like to find undervalued power arms to reassemble their bullpen each year, but at $3.25 million and another $1.85 million in incentives possible, Hernandez doesn’t seem to fit into the Rays economy.
Then again, looking ahead to 2013, the economy of baseball overall has had a significant increase, based on this year’s Hot Stove League signings.
I have to be honest, I’m not overwhelmed with this deal for Tampa Bay, and find myself having to employ the “in Andrew Friedman I trust” motto.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported that the Rays were in negotiations with Hernandez