Sunday, March 27, 2011
Cubs make right move in cutting Silva
By David Schoenfield
There are two reasons I enjoyed the little Carlos Silva/Mike Quade/Jim Hendry exchange of words after the Cubs released the veteran right-hander (I was going to say "portly," but "veteran" sounded more respectful):
1. Silva is a beefy (oops) right-hander without good stuff.
As Hendry said, Silva has had two good months over the past several seasons. He was awful with the Mariners in 2009, in a season cut short by a sore shoulder. In 2008, he had one of the worst years of the decade, going 4-15 with a 6.45 ERA and allowing a .331 opponents batting average. I think Adrian Beltre sprained his neck watching line drives scream past him. He was OK with the Twins in 2007 (prompting Seattle to give him that ridiculous contract in the first place), but awful in 2006. This guy is not a good major league pitcher and unlikely to be one in 2011.
2. More importantly, it hopefully shows that new manager Mike Quade -- who apparently made the decision to cut Silva loose -- is willing to give young players a chance. In this case, it's Andrew Cashner.
In recent years, the Cubs have been dragged down by a motley crew of "proven" veterans. Too late, the Cubs have realized some of those guys can't play. In 2010, they gave 400 plate appearances to the punchless Ryan Theriot. Xavier Nady had more than 300 plate appearances and produced a woeful .256/.306/.356 line. In 2009, it was Kevin Gregg blowing saves and Mike Fontenot posting a .301 OBP.
True, the Cubs' farm system hasn't been one of the most fruitful in recent seasons, but it has provided Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto, Randy Wells and Tyler Colvin over the past three years. That's more talent than many other teams have produced.
Quade still has to sort out second base. I'd like him to give Blake DeWitt a chance to play, but proven veteran Jeff Baker (career OPS+: 95) may instead eat up the at-bats. But maybe baby steps are all we can expect from the Cubs for now.
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter at @dschoenfield. Follow the SweetSpot blog at @espn_sweet_spot.