About a year ago, the Twins were seriously debating whether to exercise Carlos Silva's $4MM option for 2007. After all, he'd posted a ghastly 5.94 ERA in 180 innings in 2006. His 246 hits allowed was among the highest totals in baseball that year.
What difference a year makes. Silva posted a solid 4.19 ERA in 202 innings, a performance more in line with his career marks. As a result he's arguably the best available free agent starter this winter and stands to snag a contract of at least four years and $40MM (with no cost in draft picks). La Velle E. Neal III says the Twins want him back, and Bill Smith is already talking about the intangibles the team offers for him. The Twins may balk at even $8MM annually.
Neal notes that the Diamondbacks, Braves, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies had interest in trading for Silva this summer. That pretty well sums it up. We can probably add the Reds to the mix. Looking at Nick Cafardo's recent summary, the Devil Rays, Blue Jays, Tigers, Astros, Cardinals, and Dodgers all seek to add veteran starting pitching. Silva typically ranks in the top 20 for groundball rate, so he may try to avoid stadiums with artificial turf.
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