This isn’t to say that Silva is definitely going to be terrible. Moving to the National League can do wonders for a pitcher, especially one who pounds the strike zone with mediocre stuff. Silva is not that different from Jeff Weaver, who has found success with the Dodgers the last few years. There are scenarios in which Silva could help the Cubs, especially if they use him as a middle reliever and don’t let him face LH hitters very often.
But, he is not unique. There are a lot of reclamation projects who could offer limited upside if they prove healthy, and most of them will sign minor league contracts this winter. If the Mariners had cut Silva outright, he would not have gotten more than the league minimum. He is a replacement level pitcher, even though there are scenarios where he could pitch better than that.
The motivation for this deal from the Cubs’ perspective was cash, plain and simple. The Mariners are sending $9 million to the Cubs along with Silva, which covers the difference in salary and an extra $6 million, which will almost certainly be split into $3 million per year over the life of Silva’s contract. So, for 2010 and 2011, the Cubs save a little bit of money versus just having to eat his contract and release him.
Unfortunately for Chicago, this was probably the best they could do. They can allocate that $3 million to Marlon Byrd to replace Bradley in the outfield and hope that Silva finds the NL to his liking. But, there’s no question, this brings a conclusion to the Bradley signing that makes it a total and utter disaster.
From the Mariners perspective – what else is there to say? Jack Zduriencik is a genius. If Seattle isn’t the favorite in the AL West yet, they’re really close, and they aren’t done. The Angels, Rangers, and A’s should be scared stiff.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.