Former Mariners GM Bill Bavasi signed Carlos Silva to a four-year, $48MM deal in December of 2007. Two years later, Jack Zduriencik sent Silva and $9MM to the Cubs for Milton Bradley in a bad contract swap. Yesterday, Silva was released by the Cubs with $13.5MM remaining on the contract. Silva, known as an innings eater at the time of the signing, has provided a 5.82 ERA over 296 2/3 frames over the last three years. Let's see what was being said at the time of the signing…
Tim Dierkes, MLB Trade Rumors
This is the new price of a big league innings eater. Silva may not be anything special, but he's shown the ability to eat American League innings. Those guys don't grow on trees.
Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner
The strike throwing, no outpitch hurler is just a very easy skillset to find in a pitcher. Throwing a huge amount of money at Carlos Silva simply because he’s proven is a gigantic waste of resources.
This was actually written before the Mariners signed Silva, but it still sums up Cameron's evaluation of the deal.
Jeff Sullivan, Lookout Landing
There's no doubt in my mind that this is a financially irresponsible contract, and that you could get 90-100% of Silva's production going forward from someone else for a tiny fraction of the price. Of that I don't think there's any question. But overpaying is nothing new for this team, and at the end of the day, I would so much rather pay too much money than give away too much talent.
Note: this was Jeff coming to terms with the deal, after saying worse things about it previously.
Geoff Baker, Seattle Times
Did the M's truly overpay for Silva? We'll know the answer in a couple of years if he misses a season with a blown out elbow ligament. But if he stays healthy, the way Washburn and Batista have to this point, you get a slightly above-average pitcher for what should be a below-market rate.
Keith Law, ESPN
If we set the length of the contract aside for a moment, the signing of Carlos Silva makes some sense…The contract itself, however, is lunacy…While he's likely to be an immediate upgrade over the internal options Seattle had, the odds of him turning out to be a good investment over a four-year period — even before we consider the chance he suffers a major injury — are low, and if the Mariners' defense declines via a trade of Adam Jones or Adrian Beltre, Silva's performance will take a direct hit.
The three quotes I pulled out from Law's blog post are best read in context, if you have ESPN Insider. The entire post is a good read.
Silva ended up performing worse than any of us thought he would. Most writers agreed when he signed that he made the Mariners better, which never happened. Aside from missing the mark on Silva's ability to continue eating innings, I also failed to recognize that his contract was an outlier rather than the new standard for innings eaters. Three years later, innings eater types are only getting $4-8MM per year and one or two years.
I love these articles.
Me too, would love to see many more like this.
I’m with ya. Even better when we can look back at what was said in the MLBTR comment section. That usually gives me some good laughs.
His 07 numbers suggested he could be a good 4 guy behind Bedard, Hernandez and Washburn but that was a huge over pay given his skill set.
Ya, i hope they do Milton Bradley next.
I think it is great to see a writer own up to his own miscalculation and admit he was wrong. The old media elite, such as Mike Francesa (I live in NY), would never admit such a thing. Instead, they would deny any miscalculation until the death and claim they knew it all along.
Bottomline: A post like this gives MLBTR great credibility in my eyes as its writers have once again proven they value honesty over fame
Great appraisal! Wish I could give a bunch more likes for this comment but my ‘measly’ one like will have to do 😀
Tim, you quoted yourself? Hahaha.
I always put myself into these if possible, to be fair.
Seems like you we’re the most leniant with the assessment.
We’re you just sold on his ability to eat eatings or doing your best to not be overly critical/pessimistic of the signing?
i don’t know if i’ve ever seen him really rip into a team for a move
tim, tell us what you thought about the vernon wells trade!
You were partially correct – guys like Silva don’t grow on trees. Granted, that is because most pitchers are willing to accept at least partial responsibility for their failures, not because he was an “innings eater,” but you were partially correct nonetheless.
Or the fact he can’t hang on the tree without bringing the whole thing down…
I wish you would have dug up quotes of those that actually said it was a good deal. I can’t imagine anyone agreeing with it.
Tim please please please put together a post just like this for both the whitesox and cubs and have the only person quotes be Jay Marrioti(sp) just to see what he said about recent signings by both teams. Could be a fun/ funny read
Thank goodness the Seattle Times continues to pay Geoff Baker for his unparalleled insight.
Silva was fecking awful for Seattle (62 ERA+, -3.1 bWAR), but he was actually slightly above average for the Cubs last year (103 ERA+, +1.8 bWAR) before an injury ended his season. I wonder if any ML club will ignore the fact that Silva is batshit crazy and take a flyer on him?
You forgot Jayson Starks assessment.
“This could be a very good signing or a very bad one, only time will tell. I don’t know if I like the money yet or the years, i’m still deciding on that one. I’m sure at some point there may be evidence in which this deal may lean. Sometimes pitchers pitch well and sometimes they don’t. Carlos Silva could be good or he could be bad.”
How incredibly indecisive.
I think anyone, who at the time, didn’t think Silva’s contract was awful was completely out touch. This one was just obvious.
The reason guys like Silva don’t grow on trees is because usually the branches can’t support that type of weight…
try the veal
I remember, as a Twins fan, being angry with the organization for not re-signing Silva. Then, when we all saw what Seattle gave him, it was one big, “Whoa, okay, never mind” amongst the collective fan base.
Tim, you’re current assessment is a bit too harsh on yourself. I think you were correct about what the market for a slightly-above-average innings eater was in December of 2007. Since then, the economy has faltered, baseball revenues are off to stagnant, and the free agency market has adjusted to meet the present financial reality. Heck, last year, rehab projects were still getting $7-10MM (Penny, Sheets), so with the downturn, I don’t think your 2007 assessment was far from reality at the time.
So Tim – here is your next great project idea …
Somehow tie in user accounts to a central database. Build a simple tool that will allow users to rate transactions (let’s say on a scale of 1-10). Then give them 200 characters to provide some quick takes. Open up the rating for a few days after each trade/signing.
Imagine the wealth of data you would have with a few years of results on most player transactions. Here are a couple outputs off the top of my head:
— Imagine being able to rate the Silva deal with input for 5000+ MLBTradeRumors readers. How cool would it be if this deal got rated with like a 30% approval rating.
— You could have rankings among your readers. Who has proven to the most accurate at predicting a players value relative to their contract (you could do this easily by taking into account WAR – for example).
— Find out if folks that are fans of a particular team are better at evaluating talent coming in or leaving their favorite team vs non-biased fans.
You could essentially create a “RottenTomatoes” for MLB Transactions. You already have the readers. You have the transactional data. The last step should be fairly simple.
I could just see Keith Law writing in a few years, “The new Braun deal appears on the surface to be a good signing. However, the MLBTradeRumors rater has this deal at only 55% approval. I tend to agree with many that this deal represents an overpay.” Just like RottenTomatoes is ubiquitous with movie reviews, your site could have the ultimate transaction rating.
Just trying to help you get to your next million dollars 🙂
I absolutely love this idea. Please incorporate it into the site, Tim.
I like this a lot. We have several things in the air but I will probably start looking into what it’d take. Not sure whether it could be tied into Disqus accounts but that would be ideal.
So Tim – if you are interested let me know via email. I have a couple of options for you. One that won’t cost you any time or money.
Hit me up through the site’s contact form and select business inquiry, if you don’t mind.
If there is a more clueless, useless lump of living matter in the world than Bill Bavasi, I would love to see him/her/it. The Silva signing was but one of his many “gifts” to Seattle. A labotomized chimpanzee could have chosen players by pooping on sports pages and had a better success rate. Thank goodness that SF went gonzo after Zito. Bavasi was eager at the time to add him to his list of foibles. He might be the only person in the world I might feel compelled to punch if I passed him on the street.
^^^that post made me lol