Report: Yanks scouting Carlos Silva


Carlos Silva looks sad as he delivers a pitch. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

At a certain level, the Yankees’ scouts are always going to be looking at someone somewhere. That’s just the nature of their job, and the team wouldn’t be prepared for its opponents or trade contingencies if the scouts didn’t stop looking. But on another level, with pitching at a premium and the Big League club’s hope that scotch tape and rope will hold the back end of the rotation together, the scouts are scouring the league trying to find a pitcher.

As Brian Cashman has repeated said during Spring Training, he has nothing doing right now, and this does seem to be the rare time of the year when he’s not hiding the truth. March is a tough time to make a big trade, and teams aren’t looking to do many favors for the Yankees right now. That said, the scouts are out there, and right now, they seem to be keeping half an eye on Carlos Silva.

Per Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the Yankees have been scouting Silva this spring as he competes for a job in the crowded Cubs’ rotation. Silva is one of many vying for a rotation spot with the Northsiders, and as he is owed $11.5 million this year, Chicago would prefer to ship him out for cheaper options. So should the Yanks be interested?

To put it nicely, Silva is an interesting character. At 6’4″/250, he’s another huge pitcher, and he has a temper. Already this spring, he and Aramis Ramirez went at it in the dugout, and Carlos Zambrano had to calm down the large righty. When Zambrano is the anger management specialist, eyebrows across the world should go up a bit.

On the field, his results have been decidedly mixed. Overall, he is 70-70 with a 4.68 ERA and a 93 ERA+. His career K mark sits at a very low 4.0 per 9 IP, but he is the active leader in keeping his walk rate down. He issues just 1.7 BB/9 IP, and outside of one very disastrous season in Minneapolis, he isn’t prone to the longball. In a sense, he gets by as Chien-Ming Wang with ground balls and few extraneous baserunners.

Despite his less-than-impressive career numbers, he has enjoyed success in bits and spurts. In 2004, 2005 and 2007, he posted WAR totals above 3 while pitching with the Twins, and despite struggling badly in Seattle, he rebounded with a 2.1 WAR last year. He might not be worth the $11.5 million owed to him, but he could get more than halfway there. The problem with Silva, though, is also one of durability. He hasn’t reached 200 IP since 2007.

Also raising a red flag are Silva’s Spring Training numbers. He’s been absolutely lit up in this March. After 8.1 innings, he has allowed 15 earned runs on four home runs and 18 base hits. He’s issued just one free pass but has just two strike outs as well. Even if we don’t put much stock into Cactus League stats, those are some scary, scary numbers.

So Silva lurks in the background. The Yanks will, as they should, kick the tires. They’ll watch his Spring Training starts and find out if they can land him for nothing more than a wing and a prayer. If they can’t, they’ll move on to someone better. That’s the Front Office doing its job.

  • mbonzo

    Don’t know how to feel on this. He did FIP 3.75 last year, but he’s also Carlos Silva.

    One reporter said that scouts were actually looking at Brandon Looper. The pitching market must be incredibly awful.

  • Jonathan did it come to this. I doubt he would outperform Garcia and is obviously more expensive and would cost some sort of prospect. It really is too bad our needs and prospects are so close to matching up but still not there.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      If the Yanks actually wanted Silva, they could land him for just money from the Cubs. This wouldn’t involve anything more than a low-ranked prospect.

      • Jonathan

        Right, but I wouldn’t give up anything; low ranking prospect or money for a lateral move. I have zero confidence in him being a viable option in the AL East. Add in his wonderful personality and I wouldn’t touch him.

  • Ed

    He might not be worth the $11.5 million owed to him, but he could get more than halfway there.

    Good news then – Seattle is paying $5.5m of his contract this season.

    I guess he’s better than Colon, not sure he’s better enough to be worth the difference in salary though.

    • MannyGeee

      GB pitcher who doesn’t give up a ton of homers?wellllllllllllll, I guess at $6M I would give him a shot.

  • putt

    No thank you. Plus, I just can’t imagine having to listen to Sterling pronounce “Carlos Seeel-va” two-dozen times every five days.

  • bonestock94

    Projectile vomit

  • Plank

    Hopefully they were scouting Zambrano and just showed up on the wrong day.

    (I know you think he’s a headcase and will “disrupt the clubhouse chemistry”)

    • Preston

      Silva is just as big of a chemistry problem, when you’re getting into fights in spring training you’re just an A-hole.

      • Plank

        The late 70s Yankees seemed to manage okay.

        • Plank

          Just for the record, I’m not endorsing getting Silva. I would take Zambrano in a cocaine heartbeat though.

      • MannyGeee

        Any chance that Aramis is just a giant dick and Silva did what everyone else was thinking about doing? and that’s why Big Z was covering him and ‘holding him back’…?

        no?? well, OK he’s just bat-shit crazy then…

    • mbonzo

      The problem I have with Zambrano being a headcase, is that it has impacted his game in the past. I don’t think one player can “disrupt the clubhouse chemistry” of the Yankees, but Zambrano can disrupt his own own chemistry. The problem with Zambrano is that, while he’s owed a lot of money, the Cubs still really like him. While Silva would probably cost money and a low level prospect, the Cubs will ask for much more.

      • Plank

        Even though he may negatively effect his performance with his mood, he is still a good pitcher. By your logic, his minimum performance level with hissyfits is how he has pitched his whole career, which is great. If he had a season where he didn’t have those emotional problems, he would be even better. I don’t necessarily believe he hurts his game with his personality, but just extending your logic, that’s the conclusion.

        • whozat

          His problem is that he’s rather walk-prone, which is probably the worst thing for a guy looking to transition from the NL to the AL, especially the AL East. So, I don’t want Zambrano because he’s more likely to regress in terms of allowing baserunners than some other pitchers.

          You pay to get him from the cubs like he’s an Ace, then he turns into an angry-at-the-world version of AJ Burnett when he gets here. Why is that someone they should look to target?

          • Plank

            His problem is that he’s rather walk-prone, which is probably the worst thing for a guy looking to transition from the NL to the AL, especially the AL East. So, I don’t want Zambrano because he’s more likely to regress in terms of allowing baserunners than some other pitchers.

            I’m almost positive you decided you didn’t want him, then found a flaw in his game, and used that as a justification for not wanting him.

            He also has a high K rate, sometimes an elite level of Ks, and a good HR rate. The total package is an extremely reliable very good pitcher.

            • Ted Nelson

              “The total package is an extremely reliable very good pitcher.”

              In what universe? The one where it’s still 2005?

              • Plank

                His 2005 was definitely his best year, but he has been a horse with a great ERA+ every year before and after that. Even a repeat of his worst year would be a huge addition to the Yankees.

                He is extremely consistent in innings and performance.


                • Ted Nelson

                  Not “very good” by any measure since 2005 and not all that consistent either.

                  “he has been a horse”

                  Again, he was a horse. He’s averaged 162.55 innings the past 3 seasons… that’s just not a horse. You are overselling him.

                  “with a great ERA+ every year before and after that”

                  3 of the past 4 seasons his ERA+ has been 117 or 118… that’s good, but it’s not great.

                  I’m not sure how you can link to his stats and still call them great.

                  • Benjamin Kabak

                    You have impossibly high standards. His ERA+ of 120 over the last four years. Minimum 500 IP over that time frame, only 19 pitchers have topped that mark.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You can call it very good or use some other adjective if you feel so inclined, but ultimately that’s nitpicking. My point is that Carlos Zambrano is not a no-brain trade target. Not when you consider that he’s possibly the Cubs’ expected Ace, the Cubs want to contend, and the Cubs are a big market team… i.e. they’re probably not giving him away… not when you look at the price tag… not when you consider that his IP the past 4 seasons are 216, 188, 169, 123… not when you consider that on top of all that he’s not even an elite pitcher. Not “great.”

                      I might trade for Zambrano, but wouldn’t do it “in a cocaine heartbeat”… nor do I have any reason to believe the Cubs are making him available at a reasonable price before the season starts.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      And not when you consider that other pitchers might be available at more reasonable prices… might be… I have no idea. If the Cubs call the Yankees desperate to dump Zambrano, that’s a different story. After his second half last season and in the position they are in, though, I’m not sure that’s going to happen. At the deadline maybe he is the best value… who knows?

                    • Benjamin Kabak

                      You should stick with arguing his health and declining IP totals though. Saying his ERA+ of 117 is not very good just isn’t an accurate assessment.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I said: “3 of the past 4 seasons his ERA+ has been 117 or 118… that’s good, but it’s not great.”

                      I could have said “very good” or used another word to describe it, but I didn’t say that it’s not very good. I said it’s not great. I still don’t think it’s great. To me it’s not pay $17+ mill each of the next two seasons AND give up a package of prospects great. It’s definitely not give up Montero or Banuelos great. Almost definitely not give up Betances great. And debatable about whether it’s give up Brackman or Sanchez great. I’m not sure why the Cubs are looking to give away someone who is “very good” for less than that. Perhaps those circumstances arise (which is probably as likely to mean Zambrano himself is underperforming as anything… since even if they’re out of the race they’re not giving him away if he’s dominating), but I don’t think we’re there yet.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    “Even a repeat of his worst year would be a huge addition to the Yankees.”

                    Compared to whom, though. There will be other pitchers available. Maybe Zambrano is the best option at the end of the day–if he’s ever even available–but he’s not a HR, no-brainer. You said you’d take him “in a cocaine heartbeat.” In getting him you’re hurting your ability to get other pitchers, losing prospects, and getting a good but not great pitcher… I’d stop blowing lines and have some patience.

                    “He is extremely consistent in innings and performance.”

                    His innings the past four seasons are 214, 118, 169, and 123… The only way that’s consistent is a consistent downward trend. If he’s consistent you’re expecting about 100 IP this season…

        • Ted Nelson

          It’s not his personality, it’s his performance. Zambrano is not a $35 mill over the next two seasons good pitcher. He’s not a pay all that money and give up prospects good pitcher.

          Hasn’t pitched 200 innings since 2007. Has been above 3 WAR once since 2006. His career FIP is close to 4. Whether that’s his personality or his stuff, he just has not been that good.

          • Plank

            You’re comparing him to who? I hate using the term overpaid, but there are pitchers who would perform better for less than him, but none of them are available. If he had his worst ERA+ (117) and his worst IP excluding last year (169 IP) that would be more than what would be expected from Andy Pettitte. I think it’s worth it. If the Yankees took his whole salary, I don’t think they would have to give any real prospects up in a trade.

            Not to mention the fact that he will be 30 next year and likely to rebound from last years low.

            • Ted Nelson

              “but none of them are available.”

              How do you know who is available? How do you know Zambrano’s available? He’s pitching for a big-market club, had a strong second half in 2010, is towards the top of the rotation on a hopeful contender… Why is he available and no one else is?

              “I think it’s worth it. If the Yankees took his whole salary, I don’t think they would have to give any real prospects up in a trade.”

              Again, that’s speculation. If he’s such a no-brain acquisition in your mind, why are the Cubs so desperate to give him away? Are the Cubs a lot dumber about baseball than you? You know he’s going to rebound, but after watching him late in 2010 then Cubs have no idea?

              “Not to mention the fact that he will be 30 next year and likely to rebound from last years low.”

              It’s not really last year’s low… last year his WAR was just below his 2007 and 2008 WARs. It’s been a 4 year low, which was my point. His WARs since 2003: 4.9, 4.7, 4.5, 3.9, 2.8, 2.9, 3.7, 2.4…

              I’m not saying I would not trade for Zambrano under the right circumstances, I’m saying that I don’t think it’s a no-brainer. That I doubt those circumstances exist right now. Silva is on the fringe of their rotation, while Zambrano is an integral part of a team they hope will contend.

  • Camilo Gerardo

    yea, don’t help out the Cubs, too fun to watch them struggle

  • A-rod#1fan

    Vote for colon

  • Monteroisdinero

    So do we have any lefty pitching coaches who can give Banuelos the edge to get to the bigs asap?

    Coach Pettitte?

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Off topic much?

      • Monteroisdinero

        Sorry Ben. It just seems all these scrubs can possibly help us for a few starts and then their flaws will be exposed. Just trying for a viable, inexpensive alternative from within. Baumgartner was pretty good as a 20 year old last year for the Giants.

        I guess I should put my “Girardi gets the braces removed from his teeth” comment elsewhere too…

        My bad.

        • Mike Axisa

          What makes you think Banuelos’ flaws won’t be exposed?

          • Monteroisdinero

            Hey-easy Mike. I can’t take on you AND Ben. I am cautiously optimistic that Banuelos will be a better option than the retread$ we have been talking about-flaws or not. It is so rare for the Yanks to start such a young player-let alone a pitcher-but this may be a good time to try.

            • Benjamin Kabak

              Banuelos just turned 20 this past weekend and has all of 15 innings of AA experience. I don’t see why you’d sacrifice a long-term future to rush him for the sake of half a season now.

              • Ted Nelson

                I don’t think Banuelos is necessarily ready today or should open the season in the Bronx, but I also don’t really agree with your “sacrifice a long-term future” comment. I generally like a patient approach to prospect development, but there are exceptions and if Banuelos is ready to move up quicker than other prospects so be it. CC had 90 AA innings when he made his debut and hasn’t looked back since, for example. That’s just one example, but in general there are plenty of elite prospects who have been “rushed” through the minors and had good-to-great careers.

                • Ted Nelson

                  I think having him throw 200 innings (or close) this season would go a lot further towards sacrificing his long-term future than pitching him against MLB hitters, personally.

            • Ted Nelson

              “It is so rare for the Yanks to start such a young player-let alone a pitcher-but this may be a good time to try.”

              It is so rare for any MLB team to start a kid who just turned 20… not just the Yankees.

        • Zack

          Baumgartner was pretty good as a 20 year old last year for the Giants.

          Who had 180 innings in AA/AAA under his belt.

    • MannyGeee

      yeah, if Pettitte was going to work and travel with the team, wouldn’t he just swallow hard and take the $15M to pitch instead of the $13/hr to coach? just sayin

  • MattG

    Our Silvior!

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    We need someone or two pitchers who can keep us in the game. Silva left it all on the table in 2007. We have better options, cheaper and ability wise. Its never about the money in time of need with the Yankees but Garcia, Nova ad Colon offer better in ability and cost.

    My vote if the entire back-end competition tanks after April and May than do your fishing. At least the Yanks went through the process.

  • James

    I think everyone here knows that Silva would be absolute garbage in the AL East. He did go 10-6 with a 2.1 WAR last year, but if he can’t pitch in the AL Central or the AL West, how is going to pitch in the even more improved AL East?

    • Ted Nelson

      A. I have no idea how he’d do, but I think we need to look at his splits against good offenses and inter-league play and good/bad hitters instead of just assuming all pitchers get X% worse in the AL East. It’s tough because we’re looking at a small sample of his recent work.

      B. He did pitch in the AL Central for 4 seasons and was ok for 3 of them. Over 3 WAR for 3 of the 4. He got lit up in Seattle and then did ok for the Cubs (that 2.1 WAR came in only 113 IP). I’d want to look at why he did so poorly for the Mariners, why he improved with the Cubs, and how he’s doing now. If you have some positive answers there (ST not looking so positive) and the price is right… might be worth a look. The Cubs apparently owe him $8 mill ($6 mill in 2011 + $2 mill buyout)… so they wouldn’t have to eat that much to make it somewhat attractive financially.

      If the Cubs are chipping in money and asking for few prospects in return could at least be worth considering at some point this season. Certainly if everyone else bombs.

  • paul

    scout ok, but just say no to silva. i still am all for garcia #4, colon #5…see how it plays out for a while…have nova #1 at scranton and have him ready…
    manny double a with betances, let brackman roll at scranton…
    but silva-no way jose!

  • steve (different one)

    If the #6 org in MLB didn’t want this guy…

  • Dr. O

    Carlos Silva? Sure! Extended Warranty? How can I lose?!

    • Mike Myers

      Haha, awesome. Fatman Colon and Freddy do acutally have a waranty, we can cut em.

      Silva in NY = Javy X2….no good.

  • DSFC

    Silva is terrible

  • brockdc

    No “whimsy” tag. Damn.

  • Tom Zig

    I’d rather have Zambrano than Silva. Silva is nuts and has sucky stuff. Zambrano is nuts but still has pretty good stuff.

    • Ted Nelson

      Yeah, if all else were equal. It’s not though. Just speculation, but I speculate that Zambrano is an integral part of the Cubs rotation going into 2011 while Silva is in danger of not getting a rotation spot. (Could change at some point in the season.) So, the cost to acquire them probably isn’t equal. Definitely not in terms of $, where Silva is owed $8 mill by the Cubs and Zambrano is owed $35 mill (possibly 54 over 3 years if he finished 1st or 2nd in 2011 Cy Young or top 4 in 2012 Cy Young and finished 2012 healthy). You ask the Cubs to pitch in $4 mill for Silva and you owe him $4 mill. $4 mill for Zambrano and you still owe him $31 or 50 mill. Then there are prospects… After the way Zambrano finished 2010 the Cubs may be looking for something close to an Ace-type package for Zambrano. More than a borderline prospect for Silva is unlikely even if the Cubs are eating money.

  • Fernando P

    Forget Silva, he would be a disaster in the AL East. I’m all for Garcia and Nova with Mitre as the long man…and Colon given his walking papers. It’s time to develop some of the young guys, so let’s see what Nova can do.