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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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December 20, 2007 12:43 PM

Silva press conference at 4 p.m.

Posted by Geoff Baker

UPDATE (2:55 p.m.): As some of you have noted, your names aren't appearing next to your comments. We've got the engineer working on that one as well. Hopefully, it will be figured out soon.

12:43 p.m. Carlos Silva is apparently in Seattle and will attend a 4 p.m. press conference at Safeco Field to announce the signing. Deal is for four years, as we reported this morning. The club never announces the financial terms, as per its policy of keeping secrets, but we'll get those in one form or another by day's end. Go with the $44 million figure until you hear otherwise -- though Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is saying it's a $48-million package.

Speaking of the money figure, so many of you appear to be up-in-arms over the cost of this deal. I agree that $12 million per season does seem high for a pitcher with a losing record and only slightly above-average ERA totals. But welcome to the wacky world of MLB salaries. The thing is, as long as Silva stays healthy, the money totals should become less significant with each passing year. Case in point? Jarrod Washburn.

So many folks were going crazy criticizing the four-year, $37.5-million deal he got in 2005. But here's the thing: two seasons into it and $9.4 million per year for a league average lefthanded starter who just won 10 games is about the going rate. What about the three-year, $25-million contract handed to Miguel Batista a year ago? At $8.3 million per season, Batista is now looking like a bargain -- especially as a 16-game winner. Like it or not, win totals do inflate salaries (think Carl Pavano), no matter how flukey some of those wins may have been.

I remember the uproar two years ago when the Toronto Blue Jays signed A.J. Burnett to a five-year, $55-million contract. Two years into it, Burnett has had some health issues, but realistically is looking like an OK signing right now at $11-million per annum. He's at least as good as Carlos Silva when he's healthy. And that gets us back to the original point about health.

These longer deals of four or five years usually become troublesome for issues of health rather than actual dollar signs. Did the M's truly overpay for Silva? We'll know the answer in a couple of years if he misses a season with a blown out elbow ligament. But if he stays healthy, the way Washburn and Batista have to this point, you get a slightly above-average pitcher for what should be a below-market rate.

Yes, below market.

Back in 2004, the big name on the mid-range list of free-agent starters was Matt Clement. He wound up getting a $25.5-million contract over three years. That was for a relatively young guy still not yet 30. There was plenty of teeth-gnashing over that one, but look what's happened since. You had Burnett signing for $11 million per annum a year later. Jason Schmidt, another middle-of-the-road guy, got a three-year, $47-million deal from the Dodgers a year ago. This year, in a lousy free-agent class, a guy who managed some average-looking numbers in Japan, Hiroki Kuroda, got nearly $12 million per season from the Los Angeles Dodgers -- and opted to forego a fourth year from two other clubs.

Face it, the cost of pitching is not going down. So, when you think about Silva, try to think of it two ways:

No. 1 -- As the first component to a two-pronged upgrade that also sees Erik Bedard come in. The M's could do worse than a rotation where Washburn or Silva or Batista becomes the fifth starter.

No. 2 -- In terms of health, not dollar signs. If Silva stays healthy, wins in double-digits and puts up league-average numbers, which he's done up to now, the dollars won't seem that significant come 2009 -- or even 12 months from today.

Besides, it's not your money. As long as the team doesn't slash payroll down to $80 million a year from now, the concern about an extra million or two here or there shouldn't be something fans get all that hung up on.

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Posted by

1:20 PM, Dec 20, 2007

I read somewhere this morning (can't remember) but with all the $$$ flowing into MLB & the kind of money they're bringing in...$100M payrolls are going to be the "norm" in a few years!

Wow...can you imagine the Florida Marlins spending more than $11-$30M/year?!

After the Cabrera & Willis trade their 2008 payroll is set at $11M. Interestingly the "almost" made the playoffs over the past couple of years with a $22M payroll!

Posted by

1:22 PM, Dec 20, 2007

I love ya a ton, Mr. Baker, but please, O PLEASE will you stop judging pitchers by their win totals. Case in point:

According to Wins, Ron Villone was the best pitchers on the 2004 M's.

I know you're implying that GMs still do somewhat rely on wins to dole out the dollars. But, please, use something else to explain this...

Win totals are the absolute WORST way to judge a pitcher. A guy could pitch like Santana and have HORRIBLE run support, and only come away with 10 wins; whereas a guy could pitch like Horacio Ramirez and have AWESOME run support and come away with 11 wins. Wins are so far beyond a pitcher's control it's not even funny.

I'm not even a saberdweeb and I figured that out a long, long time ago...

Posted by

1:23 PM, Dec 20, 2007

I totally agree with you Geoff. I always hear people complain about the amount being paid to free agents. That's baseball. That's why you pay so much for a hot dog and a beer. Bavasi should come out at the press conference and say hey at least he's not Weaver or Ramirez. If we get Bedard which I'm still kind of on fence about because I would hate to see Adam go we would have a solid contending rotation.

Posted by

1:29 PM, Dec 20, 2007

I just vomited all over my keyboard. Anyone have a moist towelette?

Posted by

1:37 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Sources say, we may still get Bedard without losing Adam Jones in the trade. Here is the link:

Hopefully, that is the case and things go alright, but we shall see. Hopefully, O's don't ask to much in return.

Posted by

1:38 PM, Dec 20, 2007

I've read all the USSMariner stuff saying why Silva is not a good acquisition, but in looking at the realities of the market, the age of Silva, and what he replaces at the #3,4 or 5 spot, I think this is a good deal for the M's.

Age 28 with great accuracy and 200 plus innings a year, he should be a big plus. Some of this will depend on how well the infield defense plays behind him. Some of this will depend on Mel Stoudelmire helping him gain more confidence in his second and third pitches.

I LIKE THIS CARLOS SILVA DEAL. I suggested it mid-season last year, and I still like it.

As for trading Jones, Morrow and Clement for Bedard, I like that one, too, although I would rather use Sexson, Ibanez and HoRam to make the deal!

Posted by

1:44 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Jarrod Washburn's ERA+ was 100 last year. Batista's was 103. Silva's was 101. We have a whole staff of #4-#5 starters. Felix pretty much pitched like a #3 starter last year, and may again this year. Which leaves us with a rotation of barely average mediocrity.

There's nothing good about that at all.

Posted by

1:46 PM, Dec 20, 2007

the mariners should give me that extra million or two here or there and i'll easily save them more.

Posted by

1:52 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Just because Silva's contract is the going rate for a mediocre pitcher doesn't mean it's a smart deal.

Silva isn't that much different from Josh Towers, who was non-tendered by the Jays. At least, their numbers don't suggest a 48 million-dollar difference. Further, it's possible that Bartolo Colon could have been had for a one-year, $10 milllion deal. He would have possibly been Silva's equal, but would not have required such a substantial investment.

Like it or not, the M's now have to face the prospect of paying their #3 or #4 pitcher $12 million per year. How many other teams can say that? The Yankees? The Red Sox? And for a team with a budget like the Mariners, this is a significant investment.

Ever wonder how the M's could have one of the highest payrolls in baseball year after year, but be so darn bad?

Here's your answer.

Posted by

1:56 PM, Dec 20, 2007

My site doesn't say list the "Posted By" name. I'm ScottM and I LIKE THIS CARLOS SILVA ACQUISITION.

Like GEOFF said, it's the going rate for free agent pitching and it doesn't cost us our prospects.

Everyone who wants to tear the deal apart needs to suggest alternatives (Other than Bedard who we're pursuing as a legitimate TOR pitcher.)

The upside for Silva should be good.

Posted by

1:56 PM, Dec 20, 2007

This deal is a perfect example of why the Mariners suck.

Posted by

2:04 PM, Dec 20, 2007

This is NOT a bad move! I've come to realize that people on these posting boards are always going to complain about Bavasi. He either sucks for doing something or he sucks for doing nothing. Can't have it both ways, you clowns.

Keep an eye on the objective people. The M's are better today than they were yesterday, and that's the bottom line.

P.s. We need to bring back Griffey in '09! He'd be the best DH/LF platoon player in the AL West if not the entire AL. The Kid can still rake, and with Sexson's money coming off the books we can easily afford Griff with change to spare. He won't be looking to break the bank.

Posted by

2:22 PM, Dec 20, 2007

13-15 wins; 200+ innings would make the "investment" market acceptable, given the inflationary times for pitching. Batista "overachieved" last year; and Ramirez, Weaver show the downside for "market priced" pitching in free-agency.

Posted by

2:29 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Sure Weaver was horrible last year, but it was a one year contract. If you have to sign not great free agent pictures sign them to one year deals for gods sake. If they suck you can just get rid of them, if Silva sucks next year we are stuck with him for 3 more years.

Posted by

2:33 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Great sign in another .500 pitcher to keep your M's out of the playoffs. Here is your rotaion

Silva 13-14 4-10 on the road with a 5.03 era
Batista 16-11 and a career .500 pitcher
Washedup 10-15
Felix 14-7 and a mental midget
and I hear Ramierez is back....wake up Seattle, your fighting for third place.

Posted by

2:37 PM, Dec 20, 2007

I'd prefer to do a 1-2 yr cheap deal on a reclamation project like Bartolo, Benson, or Prior than give this MOR guy that kind of bank. Then take the extra money you saved by not signing Silva and use it to try and persuade Bedard to stay for more than two years if (a very BIG IF) we land him. I agree with the dissenters here....let's not be sheep and chase the weak FA market pitching this year. Let someone else get stuck with Lohse or Silva. I hope I'm wrong about this signing.

Posted by

2:44 PM, Dec 20, 2007

The problem, Geoff, is the teams handing out these contracts either are not all that great(Toronto, Dodgers, Mariners) or can absorb a wasted 10 million (Boston). It isn't an "extra million or two;" it's an extra 20-30 million or so, or 5+ annually. It's contracts like these (and ones like Juan Pierre's) (and insisting on playing Juan Pierre) that prevent teams like the Mariners and Blue Jays from building excellent teams.

Posted by

2:47 PM, Dec 20, 2007

hey my friend told me on kjr that getting carlos silva could help us get back in the hunt for johan santana. they were saying that silva and santana were like best friends like clemens and pettite are. what do you think of this?

Posted by

3:04 PM, Dec 20, 2007

If the Ms had a legit #1 or #2 SP, I'd feel better about the Silva acquisition. But, otherwise, the Ms just keep loading their gun with rubber bullets.

Posted by

3:42 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Whatever you said looser, please don't think that the fans are stupid or blinds...santana, bedard, willis, and finally silva..good luck mariners..thanks bavasi for beltre, sexson, washburn and silva...

Posted by

4:24 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Ok, we got one pitcher. Now sign Benson (his wife would be pretty funny to have around), and hold onto to all of the prospects for room to make deals at midseason, which we will no doubt have to do.

Posted by

4:35 PM, Dec 20, 2007

This comment is a test from Lance.

Posted by

4:45 PM, Dec 20, 2007

I'm in. Great! Thanks.

Well, Adam must be beside himself over this. Of course, I'd been pushing for Silva all along so I think it's great. He'll do a fine job for the Mariners, I believe.

I'd be curious, however, if his contract has any kind of opt out for Silva after a couple of years. I think it should for two reasons. One, it'll keep him motivated. If he proves successful he can get another contract that will reward him for that success using current market numbers. Then, even if he opts out the M's would have guys like Tillman, Aumont, and Butler ready to fill the void even if the M's don't re-sign him.

Really, all players signed for more than two years should have an opt out after the first two just to keep them pushing hard. My opinion, anyway.

Posted by

5:04 PM, Dec 20, 2007

From Lance:

Geoff, I think you're missing the point as to why some fans get upset over some contracts some team give out.

I don't think it has anything to do with raising ticket prices. It's about teams using a budget, really a self-imposed salary cap.

If a player uses too much of the 'pie' without the appropriate performance over the life of the contract it restricts that team from using their funds to fill that, and other holes. That's how it's perceived, anyway, I believe.

Posted by

5:08 PM, Dec 20, 2007

BTW, one final comment, to the blog's programmer. It would be nice if after I get the confirmation that my comment has been submitted that there is a link taking me back to the blog's main page without having to use my 'Favorites' to go back in.

Posted by

6:03 PM, Dec 20, 2007

This is Adam - I commented above that this is a deal which just shows how unaware the Mariner FO is. Silva for $48 milllion is ridiculous.

Yes, he'll make the team better, but there are a good number of pitchers available with skill sets similar to Silva who would cost much less. For a team with a budget, this is a bad way to do business.

Silva is a mediocre pitcher. He and Bedard both won't get us up to the level of the Angels. I am now scared to death that Bavasi starts feeling his oats and goes crazy after Bedard or Santana.

The future looks dim...

Posted by

7:07 PM, Dec 20, 2007

Hey, let's go for the Venezuelan trifecta and add Santana to go with Felix and Silva. That'll make Adam happier.

Plus, it won't affect our ability to get into the games. We can go for free. Venezuelan Prez Hugo Chavez will buy up huge blocks of Safeco tickets with his Venezuelan oil money and redistribute them to us needy M's fans. This deal is lookin' better all the time.

Posted by

7:30 AM, Dec 21, 2007

Way too much and too long a contract. Several rookies could do just as well. For this we get to have ticket prices increased???

Posted by Lbro44

11:03 AM, Dec 21, 2007

The rise is ticket prices is my money...

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