Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Silva gets $11 mil/yr.; Silva > Meche?

I think not.

The man who wouldn't give our ace Gil Meche an extra year just signed Carlos Silva to a contract that pays him at the same yearly rate, $11 mil/yr. for four years. It's true that history will have the final say on the Meche signing, but consider this Silva contract further vindication for our general manager, who, if you remember -- and I think you do -- got buried in criticism last winter for the five years, $55 million he gave Meche.

Here's why the Mariners signed Silva, a middling, back-of-the-rotation starter:

Silva falls into the innings-eater category, averaging more than 190 innings during the past four seasons with the Twins. He made 33 starts in 2007 and pitched at least six innings in 24 of them, including a pair of complete games. Seattle had just six complete games as a staff last season, half of them by departed right-hander Jeff Weaver.

Innings-eater. This is what starting pitching is worth these days: if you survive your apprenticeship, make it to, say, age 28 with your tendons still intact, and you can convince GMs you're good for 180-200 innings/year, you're going to command a multi-year deal worth at least $40 million. That's crazy.

Granted, Silva has traditionally pitched well at Safeco Field in Seattle, but here's what the league hit off him in the four seasons he was in Minnesota: .310, .290, .324, .287. The league average off starting pitchers was .270, .268, .274 and .274. Here were Silva's K/9 figures: 3.37, 3.39, 3.49, 3.97. The man has very minimal stuff. At least Meche, in the words of Rangers Fan, has "untapped potential." The best Silva gives you is a workhorse who manages to keep his team in most ballgames by not hurting himself with walks (even though he's lost 29 games the last two years). Again, there's something to be said for that type -- he's more valuable than Jorge De La Rosa. But he's a No. 3 starter at best, and he's going to make $44 over the next four years.

Days like today make me glad Dayton Moore is working for the Kansas City Royals.

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