Carlos Silva Should Be Shown the Door By Cubs, Fat Contract or Not

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IMarch 7, 2010

This is not some knee-jerk reaction to what happened in yesterday's 15-3 blowout loss to the Sox. Sure, the right-hander gave up seven hits and six runs in two innings of work, including a pair of home runs. 

But Carlos Silva has got to go.

Now this should not be a surprise to anyone who knows anything about baseball. The fact that Silva is a lousy pitcher is one of the biggest "Duh!'s" in history. It is an understatement similar to saying that Tiger Woods likes the ladies.

Look, if that's not Silva's face atop the list of the worst starting pitchers in major league baseball, he's in the team photo.

And just because GM Jim Hendry desperately wants to show his new bosses that he received some value in return for Milton Bradley, this charade just shouldn't be allowed to continue.

Look, if the Cubs really want to be contenders in 2010, they need to put their best foot forward, not in their mouths. Their best team for 2010 may include a Zambrano and a Marmol, but not a Carlos named Silva.

I understand we don't have quality depth in the rotation right now. The uncertain status of Ted Lilly and the departure of Rich Harden means this club can't afford to simply cast aside useful starting pitching.

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But notice the word "useful"...that term is an antonym with Silva.

The fact is, Hendry and the Cubs wanted to offload Bradley so badly that all they wanted is a warm body and a few million dollars in salary relief in return. Well, at least they got the salary relief.

Meanwhile, they also need another kind of "relief".

Too bad they couldn't have pried away Mark Lowe from Seattle, given our conspicuous need for relief pitching at this point.

But no matter, for as Carl Sandburg once said, "The past is a bucket of ashes." Hendry must now be man enough to admit that Silva is simply not worth retaining just because they don't have the appetite to eat his bloated contract.

Oh I'm sure that the Cubs will give him a couple more chances to show what he can do, but if recent history is any guide, it won't work out favorably. Even if he somehow squeezes out a decent start or two, it will be fool's gold.

Meanwhile, the lower half of the rotation could be downright terrifying until Lilly returns.

Even accounting for an improved offense this year, that's potentially two out of every five games where our rotation will be at a disadvantage as compared with contending teams, at a minimum, and that is assuming the other three pitch well and the team scores runs.

Unless he pitches poorly this spring, you can expect Tom Gorzelanny to win one of the spots and I'm certain that Hendry was crossing his fingers that Silva would take the other.

If Silva pitches his way to the DL or an outright release, that opens a spot for Jeff Samardzija, another Cubs pitcher whom Hendry is hoping to get some positive value from this year.

That could be ugly my friends. Look, as Voltaire once said (I think he pitched for the Cubs in the early 20s), "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." 

Still, it would be nice to go into the season with something a bit more concrete to go on than this. As much as I root for the guy, I still don't see anything that suggests "The Shark" is ready to command three pitches well enough to succeed over five or six innings at the big league level.

There are still a couple guys out there on the market, but don't expect Hendry to make any moves unless they discover that Lilly needs more time than initially thought.

His priority is an arm for the bullpen right now. And, while he didn't look good yesterday, I think it's time to see what Andrew Cashner can do.

The Cubs have been grooming the former college closer as a starter but I still view him as a reliever, albeit a potentially very good one. But he's young and will need to go through the normal growing pains until he finds consistent success.

Who will set up Carlos Marmol, assuming he throws strikes and can be an effective closer? The John Grabow experience is not the answer in my opinion.

But returning to Silva for a moment, he allowed 442 hits in just over 355 innings in 2007 and 2008. Last year, he pitched about 30 awful innings the entire season.

As if that wasn't bad enough, it's not as if he was any better with the Twins in 2006—246 hits in 180+ innings of work and a 5.94 ERA doesn't exactly inspire confidence. 

While Mark Twain may have raised a valid point when he said that "Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable", these numbers can't be disputed. 

You don't even need to look up his WHIP or his FIP, the man sucks at pitching a baseball for a living. Yet he will make $11.5 million this year and next, with a $12 million mutual option that contains a $2 million dollar buyout for 2012.

Let that absorb for a minute. Imagine what Seattle would have paid him if he had actually been any good when he signed with them...

Now, the Mariners will pick up $9 million of that albatross over the next two years, thank you, which leaves the Cubs having to eat $16 million if they release him (minus the salary they lost in moving Bradley, of course).

But that's OK. For as I once said, in fact it was today, "Call it addition by subtraction".


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