Carlos Silva's exiting words annoy Cubs
MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs released Carlos Silva on Sunday and team management didn't mince words when describing its feelings about Silva's verbal attack on pitching coach Mark Riggins and the Cubs organization.
"Obviously we're dealing with a man at this stage of his career who's not willing to face the facts," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "What he's done for the last few years in his career, except for a two-month period, is way below major league standards. And he seems to have the continual problem [of] blaming everybody but himself."
After learning on Saturday that he wouldn't make the Cubs' 25-man roster, Silva blasted Riggins, saying the pitching coach wasn't honest with him about his potential role on the team. Silva also said that the competition for the fifth starter's job was always weighted against him.
"Riggs came to me and said, 'What a day, and now go out there and do your workout and continue pitching the way you're doing," Silva said Saturday. "A half-hour later, he called me into the hall and started talking to me.
"I'm like, if you have to say something, be straight. He has to learn he's in the big leagues now, know what I mean? There's no kids around here anymore."
That brought a sharp rebuke from Cubs general manager Jim Hendry on Sunday.
"Basically, he wasn't good enough to make the team," Hendry said. "You factor in not only spring training, but you try to go back and factor in the second half of last year, looking at a guy who had a 14-something ERA from July 11 and came to camp with a notion that he already had a spot in the rotation. Obviously, the first three, four outings, quite poor."
Hendry added: "His comments about Mark Riggins were totally inappropriate and unacceptable. Once again, it's a weakness for somebody that doesn't perform well and chooses to blame somebody else on the way out."
On Sunday morning, Cubs manager Mike Quade said it was his decision, and his decision alone, to drop Silva from the Cubs' 12-man pitching staff.
"People need to know, whether he was upset with Riggs or whatever, everyone needs to know that this was my call," Quade said. "It wasn't Jim Hendry's. If [Silva wants] to be irritated with somebody, this is on me, OK. It was my decision, complete and totally.
"I was really disappointed when I heard [Silva's comments]. First of all, he's dead f---ing wrong, OK, about my pitching coach. And I have no f---ing time for that."
Quade continued to admonish the former Cubs pitcher.
"Respect is a two-way street," he said. "I don't want to hear anything about respect. If you ain't giving it, you ain't getting it."
For his part, Riggins chose to take the high road in response to Silva's complaints.
"I've been through quite a few releases [of other players] at the minor league level," he said. "With everybody it's different. I wish him the best, and if I can help him in any way, the door is always open."
The Cubs tried all spring to trade Silva, but didn't get any interest from any of the other 29 major league teams. According to a major league source, the Cubs let it be known that they would be willing to eat a large portion of Silva's $11.5 million 2011 salary. The source also said the Cubs were not asking for any players in return. However, there were still no takers.
Silva has to wait 48 hours for release waivers to clear. After that, he'll receive his check from the Cubs and is free to make any deal that he wants with any other major league team.
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The Cubs are responsible for Silva's $11.5 million contract. If another team signs Silva to a 2011 contract, the amount the Cubs owe him would be lessened by the amount of that deal. Silva's contract also includes a $2 million buyout of a 2012 option, which the Mariners are responsible for paying at the end of the season. Silva was acquired from the Mariners for Milton Bradley in December 2009.
Quade remained confident that his choice of Andrew Cashner for the fifth starter's role was the correct move.
"I can look in the mirror all day long," Quade said. "And I think as an organization, we can."
Can Silva do the same?
"That's up to him," Quade said. "He's a grownup. He has to figure that out."
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.