Sunday, January 11, 2009

What the Hell Were You Thinking? Carlos Silva Edition

*Over the next couple of weeks, Jorge Says No! will take an in depth look at some of the worst contracts in baseball. We'll evaluate why the player was signed, what went wrong, and future implications of the contract. Behind every bone head decision, there has to be a reason for it...right?*

There is no doubt that Carlos Silva was one of the worst pitchers in baseball in 2008. The former Phillie and Twin hit unspeakable lows as he only won four games and produced a 6.46 ERA. One one year into a 4 year/$48 million dollar contract, Silva looks like a shell of his former self and a massive waste of money. So what the hell were you thinking Seattle?

Why Sign Silva: Coming off a season in which the Mariners exceeded expectations, then GM Bill Bavasi wanted to solidify the back end of his rotation and went hard after Silva. Known to be an innings eater with great control, Bavasi thought Silva would slot in nicely behind Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn.
“We feel that signing Carlos addresses one of our main needs, adding a quality arm to the starting rotation,” general manager Bill Bavasi said. “Our goal heading into the offseason was to identify the best available pitcher on the free agent market and we feel we got the best one.” MSNBC
Yes, you read right, Bavasi thought Silva was the best free agent pitcher on the market. Last seasons free agent class of starting pitchers was one of the worst in years. Want proof? Other than Hideki Kuroda, Silva was the only starting pitcher to receive a contract for more than one year. How amazing is that?

And even before his miserable performance in 2008, this contract appeared to be for way too much. This contract proved just how desperate Bavasi was to bring a winner to Seattle.

What Went Wrong: To put it bluntly, everything. Silva still did not walk anybody, but he became one of the most hittable pitchers in the league as his classic sinker remained flat as Silva struggled to keep the ball down. It was by far the worst season of Silva's career. Instead of stability, the Mariners wound up with a batting practice pitcher who could not get anyone out and struggled to pitch deep into games.

Future Implications: Look what your stuck with for the next three years Seattle: an overweight sinkerball pitcher, who has no sinker! Silva is still owed roughly $36 million bucks, which the Mariners will probably get very little return on. If he continues to struggle, the Mariners would be better off cutting Silva and letting a young pitcher take his spot in the rotation. We're approaching Russ Ortiz territory here people.

This contract will be a major burden for the Mariners over the next three seasons. If the Mariners have a payroll of roughly $100 million in 2009 then Silva will account for roughly 10% of that. Hard to move forward when you have a dead weight like Silva taking up so much of the payroll.

Lesson Learned:
Do not overspend on overweight pitchers who cannot strike out hitters and must rely on their control and the defense behind them to be successful. Seems obvious, but as Mariners fans will note, nothing is obvious for the often oblivious Bill Bavasi.

No comments: