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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Seattle - Supposedly Signed Silva

Seattle Mariners - Signed P Carlos Silva to a 4-year, $44 million contract.

Christmas is the time for dreams and if I was a Mariners fan, I’d spend the next week imagining that this is a 4-year, ¥44 million contract and they really didn’t spend $11 million a year on Carlos Silva.  If Silva’s worth millions, then the reported contract offers of the Twins to Santana is off by a decimal place.

Silva’s kind of a rich man’s Josh Towers, which is kind of sad.  He absolutely needs pinpoint control to succeed and while he’s not going to have another season where he walks just 9 batters, he’s smart to sign with a team that plays in a stadium that will keep the homers down.  Silva in Denver would be downright funny.  Not really the worst signing in the world, since he was sadly one of the most valuable starting pitchers in the FA market and Nintendo’s awash in Wii-cash, but something just seems perverse about signing a player for $11 million a year and have him not even be good enough to crack the starting rotation of your primary competition the upcoming season.

2008 ZiPS Projection - Carlos Silva
        W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA   ERA+
Projection 11 13 32 30 192 228 102 26 30 85 4.78   90
2009?    10 13 30 28 172 210   95 23 29 68 4.97   86
2010?    10 12 28 27 167 203   92 21 32 62 4.96   87
2011?    9 12 27 26 157 196   91 22 28 54 5.22   82
Opt. (15%) 14 11 33 31 203 225   93 21 26 101 4.12   104
Pes. (15%)  6 13 25 23 144 190   95 23 31 49 5.94   72
Top Comps:  Bill Wegman, Andy Ashby

[ADDENDUM: I make it a policy to try to avoid other site’s analysis of transactions until I get a chance to think about it, but I noticed this morning, while checking out the main Mariners sites I read (USS Mariner and Lookout Landing) that Matthew over at the latter thought of Josh Towers and before I did.  While I thought of Towers independently (well, technically, ZiPS found Towers pretty high in the comps and I simply thought it apt), credit should still go to the person who thought of it first!]

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 20, 2007 at 04:44 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. nymusix Posted: December 20, 2007 at 05:11 AM (#2650433)
I wouldn't be surprised to see him outperform that in front of Seattle's defense, which is supposed to be quite good. That said, it's still not a good signing.
   2. chrisisasavage Posted: December 20, 2007 at 05:30 AM (#2650443)
Seattle's defense was pretty bad last season. Adam Jones should help, but Ibanez and Sexson are awful and Vidro is on the team as well.
   3. alskor Posted: December 20, 2007 at 05:31 AM (#2650444)
You know if Batista, Washburn and Silva all hit their ZiPS pessimistic projection or say 35th PECOTA percentile the Mariners could be really, really bad.

They would then have an awful amount of money tied up in some pretty unimpressive players.
   4. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 20, 2007 at 05:41 AM (#2650449)
The Mariners are probably doing this on the assumption that Carlos Silva will be enough better than the garbage that they had at the back of their rotation last season that he'll help propel them to the playoffs. That evaluation of his skills may be generous, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility. The problem that they're going to encounter is that he improves them from an 80 win team to an 82 win team, not an 88 win to a 90 win team.

Seattle's defense was pretty bad last season. Adam Jones should help, but Ibanez and Sexson are awful and Vidro is on the team as well.

I don't think this is correct. "Vidro is on the team as well" is an indictment of Bill Bavasi's idea of what a DH is, but Vidro played just 22 games in the field last season and doesn't figure to play any more than that next year. Yuni Betancourt and Adrian Beltre are both defensive stars, and though his statistics seem to be all over the place, Ichiro would seem to be, as well. Sexon isn't much of a 1B, and Ibanez isn't anything special in LF, but when your defensive holes are at the least important positions on the field and you have three Gold Glove-caliber guys at much more important position, I think you're doing fine.
   5. bookbook Posted: December 20, 2007 at 06:01 AM (#2650458)
Yuni was evidently below average defensively last year. Leaving a defensive hole at SS, large gaping wounds at 1B and LF, averagish players in RF, 2B, C, and defensive strengths at 3B and CF. The analyses I've seen suggest that defense was a substantial portion of the M's pitchers' problem last year - right up there with "lack of talent" and "team-wide obsession with establishing the fastball down the middle of the plate"
   6. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 20, 2007 at 06:39 AM (#2650475)
Yuni was evidently below average defensively last year.

Okay, looking up readily-available stats -- which always need to be tempered with scouting reports and/or a small amount of personal observation, in my opinion -- Yuni was -2.7 runs by PMR and -3 according to UZR. So play-by-play metrics seem to rate him as slightly below average, less than half a win. Given that, according to Dewan's numbers, he also led the league in "good plays", I'd say he's more than likely highly talented but still learning. Seattle's DER wasn't good. So maybe I should revise my assertion -- I think it's possible that the Mariners' D won't be that bad next year.
   7. NBarnes Posted: December 20, 2007 at 11:34 AM (#2650508)
The biggest problem with Seattle's defense last year was Ibanez in Safeco's cavernous left field. Saying Ibanez 'isn't anything special' is a vast overstatement of his abilities; he's neck and neck with Manny for being the worst defensive LF in the AL (and since I think part of Manny's problem is that metrics don't handle the Green Monster properly at all, I suspect that Ibanez is worse, possibly significantly so). Since Bavasi appears determined to stick his hand in that wood chipper again, at least Silva's sinker won't care. But Silva's long fly ball problem won't be helped by having a dessicated corpse out there in left.

And then there's the 'he's not actually that good and he's signed forever for a lot of money' problem, and that's one that won't be solved by Betancourt doing a better job of turning defensive talent into defensive skill. Bavasi seems to think that his job is to turn the Mariners into Baltimore West.
   8. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 20, 2007 at 01:24 PM (#2650521)
Why would we expect Silva to perform better in front of Seattle's defense? Wasn't Minnesota's defense pretty good?
   9. Craig in MN Posted: December 20, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2650640)
Why would we expect Silva to perform better in front of Seattle's defense? Wasn't Minnesota's defense pretty good?

They were certainly no worse than Seattle's. I think perhaps it is more of an expected stadium effect than team defense effect...larger dimensions and (maybe) slower grass = potential success. Intuitively, I'd say that he might get a bigger bounce from the style/level of competition out west than the defense. I just don't think any of the AL West teams seem that prone to take advantage of his weaknesses. Pitching in Texas might be a problem (and checking that now...his career splits agree), but the rest of the AL West teams & stadia seem like he'll have a slight advantage. That might not necessarily be to Silva's credit, but it could make this a wiser signing if true.

I'm sure that ZiPs doesn't take level of competition into assumes average opponents, right?
   10. MatthewCarruth Posted: December 21, 2007 at 07:38 AM (#2651423)
Worth noting, apparently Silva has been working on and using a third (or fourth if you count his show-me slider as a pitch) pitch, a splitfinger. According to people in Minnesota, he started working it into his gametime arsenal around July or so. There is obvious small sample size caveats here, but Silva's performance against LHB after the break were substantially better. If that mini-trend holds, that would portend well for Silva in the future.

As for the projections, I hope they're bearish. I do think his homerun total will be lower than predicted and his ERA+ closer to, if not over, 100 for '08 at least.
   11. spycake Posted: December 21, 2007 at 05:47 PM (#2651676)
Cot's is reporting it at 4 years/$48M (2008-11), plus 2012 mutual option.

I wouldn't give Silva that deal if I were a GM, but I think ZiPS is overly pessimistic here. The dude has posted 112, 129, 79, and 103 ERA+ figures the last 4 seasons, and he's entering his age-29 season. Worst case, I think he will alternate between the mean and optimistic projections over the contract, with a chance at a pessimistic year over the life of the deal.
   12. Swan Posted: December 22, 2007 at 04:17 AM (#2652068)
Does Minnisota geta pick from this?
   13. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: December 22, 2007 at 04:26 AM (#2652070)
good thing KC didn't get Silva
   14. Juan V Posted: December 22, 2007 at 05:10 AM (#2652077)
They should put that money into expanding Wii manufacturing lines...
   15. CraigK Posted: December 22, 2007 at 05:51 AM (#2652082)
Each Wii costs $160 to make.

Assuming a ~$275 average price, that means the $44M signed to Silva could make 275,000 Wiis.

With a $115 profit, that means Nintendo could have turned that $44M into $75.62M.
   16. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: December 22, 2007 at 06:58 AM (#2652090)
I like the idea of the comparison, but the link says that the profit per Wii is $40. This makes sense, as there are middlemen and retailers to pay, too.

I think it was USS Mariner that said that $11 mil/yr may look expensive, but given the trends in starters' salaries, it probably won't look bad in a year or so if he stays healthy.
   17. Tripon Posted: September 05, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3315461)
It looks really bad.
   18. NBarnes Posted: September 06, 2009 at 06:24 AM (#3315651)
Seattle fans won't thank you for bumping this one. Why not bump the Bedard trade while you're at it?

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