There really is no bad news for Cleveland Indians fans in the signing of pitcher Fausto Carmona to a long-term deal. It's the continuation of a trend general manager Mark Shapiro cribbed from his predecessor John Hart. Get the young talent under contract before they are arbitration-eligible. It has the added benefit, too, of making the payroll costs of a budget-challenged team much more predictable over the next several years.
Still, if you follow a team long enough, there are just some truths you know. They may not be things you can necessarily prove or even things that the team would readily admit. But you know them nonetheless. And most of the time, unfortunately, the truths are as harsh as they are bitter.
In this case, the signing of Carmona just adds to an ever growing list of of truths that Indians fans know. Number one on that list is that this is going to be pitcher C.C. Sabathia's last season in Cleveland. Signing Carmona, no matter that Shapiro may say otherwise, just provides more evidence, not less. And that's not because Sabathia's money has gone to Carmona. Far from it. It's just that Shapiro is never going to allow a team he oversees to commit the kind of money it will take over the length of time necessary to keep Sabathia in Cleveland.
Indians fans know Shapiro's record in this regard and have a notebook filled with proof. Shapiro may have control over the budget and theoretically could allocate it anyway he wants. But given its limits and the devastating effects that a huge long-term contract could have on it when injury or ineffectiveness kicks in will make Shapiro shy away.
And while we're on the topic of pitching, another truth on the list has to do with closer Joe Borowski. Because he saved 45 games last season, Indians fans know the case for change isn't easily made. But they also know that the thought of his getting the ball in a crucial game seven makes them cringe.
USA Today on Wednesday ran a feature on Borowski and Todd Jones, the Detroit Tigers closer, both castoffs of the Tampa Bay Rays and somewhat twin sons of different mothers. The point is that neither is an elite closer by conventional standards, which is the key to the fans indifference to their accomplishments.