Right-hander won 14 games in '04

Updated: February 8, 2005, 6:44 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Carlos Silva and the Minnesota Twins avoided arbitration by agreeing Tuesday to a two-year contract that guarantees him $5.05 million.

Carlos Silva
Starting Pitcher
Minnesota Twins
33 14 8 0 76 4.21

Silva went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 203 innings last year for the three-time AL Central champions. He had made just one career start before the Twins acquired him from the Philadelphia Phillies in a December 2003 trade that sent left-handed starter Eric Milton to the Phillies.

"He was a very good performer for us this year, with the circumstances of bringing him over to a new club and a new league and changing his role from relief to starter," general manager Terry Ryan said. "I think we've got a contract here that will please all."

The 25-year-old Silva threw one shutout and allowed 255 hits with 35 walks and 76 strikeouts. He finished fourth in the AL in fewest walks per nine innings (1.6) and pitched six or more innings in 24 of his 33 starts.

"We gave him some security here," Ryan said. "He's a good competitor. He's a good worker. He throws the ball over the plate. He's got no history of injury. With all that information and youth on his side, we feel that this is the right thing to do."

Prior to 2004, Silva -- a native of Venezuela -- spent two productive seasons as a reliever in Philadelphia. As a rookie, he went 5-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 84 innings. In 2003, he went 3-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 87 1/3 innings.

Silva's contract calls for salaries of $1.75 million this year and $3.2 million in 2006 and includes the chance for him to earn $100,000 annually in performance bonuses: $25,000 each for 195 and 200 innings, and $50,000 for 210 innings.

There is a $4 million club option for 2006 with a $100,000 buyout, and the option price would rise to $4,325,000 if he has 360 innings pitched in the first two years. It would go up to $4.75 million with 380 innings, $5 million with 400 innings, $5.25 million with 420 innings, $5.5 million with 430 innings and $5.75 million with 440 innings.

If Silva is traded, or has 205 innings in 2006 or 410 innings in the first two years, it becomes a mutual option. If he is still on the Twins and rejects the option, he forfeits the buyout.

The Twins now have two arbitration-eligible players left unsigned -- AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana and right-hander Kyle Lohse. Negotiations on a long-term contract with Santana have proven to be difficult.

"We hope to get something accomplished with both of them," Ryan said.

If an agreement can't be reached before the scheduled arbitration hearing this month, the two sides present their case before a panel of three arbitrators that will determine the player's 2005 salary.

Santana asked for $6.8 million, and the Twins offered $5 million. Lohse asked for $2.4 million, and the Twins offered $2.15 million. Negotiations can continue on a long-term deal after the arbitration process.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press