Is the Cubs' Carlos Silva the Comeback Player of the Year?

Joe WillettSenior Writer IMay 18, 2010

CHICAGO - MAY 12: Starting pitcher Carlos Silva #52 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field on May 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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When the Cubs traded Milton Bradley to the Seattle Mariners, they expected to get nothing more than a really expensive paperweight in return, and as far as they knew, Carlos Silva was just that.

After all, Silva consistently pitches horribly, and hasn't had a good season since 2005 when he went 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA.  That's not exactly an All Star season, but it's the best season he's ever had.

Well, it was the best season he's ever had, until this season.

It is still early, but Silva has yet to lose a game, going 4-0 with a 3.40 ERA while losing the stigma that comes with being Carlos Silva.

We heard before the season started that he was working on his delivery, and he did have a good Spring Training, hell, I even figured I would write an article on how good he could be.

Even I couldn't predict this breakout, I was more thinking that he could make the roster, pitch average in the bullpen, not do anything stupid, and he would have a better season than expected, and be an upgrade over Bradley.

Instead, he is becoming the best pitcher in the rotation and is doing his best to help Cubs fans forget about the other Carlos.

Now Silva isn't tearing up opposing team's batting orders, but he is doing good enough to get wins and keep the Cubs in games.

Silva went from being a possible fifth starter who everybody hoped would pitch no more than a few innings a series, to the best pitcher on this staff, leading the starting rotation in wins and ERA.

If you look at some of his stats, he is playing at the level of a solid second or third pitcher in a rotation.

His WHIP is 1.20, which ties him for 36th in the majors.  His batting average against is .258, his career best and 56th among pitchers with at least 40 innings.  His quality start percentage is 0.71, which is second on the Cubs behind Ryan Dempstrer (0.75) and tied for 34th in the majors.

Will he stay loss-less this whole season?  Probably not.  Will he become a bona-fide ace in the Cub's rotation?  Probably not.  Is it fair to think that he will contribute very well and keep up the way that he has thus far this season?  It's not out of the question.

We don't know what Silva will do the rest of the season, and it is still only May 18th, but he has the opportunity to make a complete career turnaround.

Although I doubt that he will completely earn the $12 million that he is making this season, if he continues to pitch this way, the Silva-Bradley trade may be one of the more one-sided trades in a long time.

I'm Joe W.