Prior to spring training last season, Jim Hendry made a move that would send troubled soul Milton Bradley to the Mariners for underachieving Carlos Silva with a super bloated contract in a “you take our bad contract we’ll take your bad contract” deal. Milton Bradley continued to have anger problems in Seattle last season and hardly did anything at the plate while Silva started the season off 8-0 for the Cubs with an ERA in the 2′s. Silva eventually ended the season going 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA for the season. Not exactly 2nd half of a season you’d like to follow up the fast start.
After last season, I said to myself and colleagues, “If Silva doesn’t even pitch next season, the deal with still favor the Cubs”. This was before the latest assault story involving Bradley; further cementing the validity of my statemet. At this point in spring training, I hope my thought becomes a fact. Silva has done nothing positive in spring training unless you consider fighting with teammates a positive! So far this season he’s thrown 11.1 innings while giving up 26 runs (20 earned) and allowing batters to hit at a .453 clip which includes four home runs.
Yes, it’s spring training, and all things need to be taken with a grain of salt, but I actually see zero positives in any of his performances. As stated earlier, Silva has already gotten into a fight with fellow teammate Aramis Ramirez following a bad first inning to a start where there were a couple of errors, including one by Ramirez, that cost Silva three unearned runs in a six run inning. The two had to be separated and Silva had to be physically removed from the sport complex. I wouldn’t want a player like that on my team, personally. Yes, Carlos Zambrano got into a fight last season and was suspended for a while. I was ready to ship off Zambrano to any team at that point and wouldn’t have looked back. Having good team dynamics (as a team, maybe not outside the game) are a very important part to the success of a team. Silva doesn’t bring any long term plans to the team that say some of these younger pitchers would bring, and I think it can be assumed he will not be back with the team next season with his contract coming to an end this season.
Looking at fellow Carlos [Zambrano], we can see he got lit up for 6 runs pitching 4.2 innings in yesterday’s game, but prior to that outing he’s pitched effectively. He hasn’t been super flashy striking a lot of batters out, but he’s getting outs in that Arizona air which is the most important thing he can be doing right now. The ball carries well in the air, and the ground is hard making ground balls faster than normal infields. It should help out a lot mentally for Zambrano by not actually being the opening day starter and “ace” for the Cubs, so I’m confident we’ll see better things this season from him on the hill.
Individual game stats thus far in spring training (As of 3/18):
Those totals are very unimpressive, spring training or not. The good news is that he’s not walking batters, but that means he’s leaving too many pitches over the plate and they’re getting hit hard. I think it might time to cut ties with him and let some of these young pitcher get some big league experience. Andrew Cashner has pitched well enough so far this spring that he might have an upper edge on the other pitchers for the fifth spot in the rotation, should Silva not break camp with the Cubs, moving Jeff Samardzija to the long relief role. This can only occur if Cashner cuts down on the walks. He’s got really good stuff, he just needs to trust it, and keep it in the strike zone. This could allow Chris J. Carpenter (not Cardinals Cy Young winner) fill in a reliever spot since he’s had a great spring thus far whose only run given up thus far was a solo home run.
Player lines (As of 3/18):
|Chris J. Carpenter||3.2||3||1||1||2||4||1|
The other interesting thing to note between Samardzija and Cashner, Cashner has two starts in four appearances and Samardzija has zero starts in six appearances totaling those six innings he’s pitched. That seems like a sign they expect Samardzija to pitch out of the bullpen. There have been a few teams scouting Silva that needs a starter in their rotation. The names I’ve seen in rumors have been the Nationals and Yankees. It’s possible he can be moved for a bag of peanuts or a toaster and allow Cashner to start. If that doesn’t happen, perhaps just cutting ties now, and eating his salary for the season makes the most sense.
stats courtesy of mlb.com
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Andrew Cashner, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Silva, Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, Chris J Carpenter, Cubs, Jeff Samardzija, Jim Hendry, Mariners, Milton Bradley