Mariners secure former Twins pitcher Silva with four-year, $48M deal

Updated: December 21, 2007, 11:02 AM ET
Associated Press

Silva
Silva

SEATTLE -- No need to tell Carlos Silva how crazy it is that the Seattle Mariners gave him a $48 million, four-year contract.

"It is wild. Everything is wild. Wild is having this life," the 28-year-old right-handed sinkerballer said.

Silva, 13-14 last season with the Minnesota Twins, finalized a deal that includes a $5 million signing bonus and a $12 million mutual option for 2012 with a $2 million buyout. His agreement came after Seattle failed to sign Hiroki Kuroda, who agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It's good money, good for the future of my family," Silva said. "But it's not just the money."

For Silva, this was also a chance to pitch in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. And some pampering from the Mariners didn't hurt.

The deal was done at a dinner in Seattle on Wednesday night for Silva and his wife, Maria, a native of St. Paul, Minn., whom he met while with the Twins. At the meal, Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi learned Silva had to fly back to his native Venezuela early Friday to host his annual holiday charity event for poor children. So Bavasi showered Silva and his wife with Mariners T-shirts and toys to give to the kids, many of whom, Silva said, wear Twins gear he has given them for days at a time.

Law: Questionable value

Carlos Silva is a good addition to the Mariners' staff, but the price and length of the contract curtails the reasonability of the deal, Keith Law writes. Blog Insider

"I feel a little uncomfortable that people are treating me this well," Silva said.

Silva's 4.19 ERA last season was better than every Mariners starter other than hard-throwing Felix Hernandez. The Mariners love that Silva pitches deep into games, generally stays low in the strike zone with a sharp sinker and walked just 36 batters in 202 innings last season. Short starts that taxed a good but overused bullpen largely explained why Seattle sunk from surprise contention this past August to a historic swoon in September and still haven't been to the playoffs since 2001.

"In this market, we felt this was the No. 1 guy out there," Bavasi said. "We think this is huge. This is a big add for us."

Silva joins a Seattle rotation that includes Hernandez, Miguel Batista and Jarrod Washburn. Batista became Bavasi's best winter acquisition last year, winning a career-high 16 games after signing a $25 million, three-year deal.

But Washburn has mostly been a disappointment. He's 18-29 two seasons into a four-year, $37 million contract that he signed as a free agent two winters ago.

Is Silva a better fit for the Mariners?

"I think he's a good fit for any club," Bavasi said. "Guys who get American League hitters out fit anywhere.

"Getting outscored [794-813, the only winning AL team to be outscored] and still winning 88 games, that's due in large part to the four and five spots. Those spots in the rotation had to be upgraded heavily."

The upgrade might not be over. One starting spot remains open, and Bavasi acknowledged he has cast "many" fishing lines into the free-agent and trade pool in the last month, "because you don't know what fish you would pull up."

He's had bites from Baltimore for Bedard. That deal likely would cost top outfield prospect Adam Jones, among others.

A baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations said the Mariners are "very much" involved in getting the Canadian left-hander. He requested anonymity because the talks are ongoing.

Bedard is not only good -- 13-5 last season and 15-11 the year before for two bad Orioles teams -- his contract status is attractive. The Canadian left-hander is still eligible for arbitration and under team control for two more seasons.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE