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When the Chicago Cubs dumped Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva in December, the reaction from fans was universal: sigh. This is the best they could do? Really? Really??

Silva had just struggled through what could very literally be the worst two seasons a pitcher could have and remain in Major League Baseball. Expectations were low. And then Silva showed up to Spring camp out of shape. Expectations were even lower.

And then Silva did something even worse: he pitched well.

“You can learn from a lot of people,” Silva said. “You have [Ryan] Dempster, you can learn from Ted Lilly. You have Marlon [Byrd]. I’ve known him for a long time. We were talking about the way I used to pitch before. [Byrd] said, ‘I want to see you do stuff like what I used to see.'”

The Cubs weren’t sure what to expect when they traded Milton Bradley for Silva last December. Will he be the pitcher who won 14 games with the Twins or the one who struggled the last two seasons?

“I don’t want to say I’m surprised,” Silva said. “This is what I’ve been working for. I’ve been taking this spring very seriously. I even asked [Esmailin] Caridad how he threw his slider. That’s what I’m looking for — I want to learn from everybody. I play catch with Carlos [Zambrano] every day and I ask him a million questions. I’m not surprised. I’ve been working very hard.”

He wrapped up his spring on Thursday, throwing five scoreless innings against the Rockies. In his six starts, Silva gave up nine earned runs on 27 hits and two walks over 21 1/3 innings. And six of those runs came in his first start March 6 against the White Sox.

“We recognize early in camp, even when we were at Fitch Park [before games started], that he was throwing the ball nice and free and easy,” Lou Piniella said. “Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] and I talked about making a couple adjustments and you can’t pitch any better than he’s pitched here in spring Training.” Muskat Ramblings.

Let’s be clear on one thing up front: even at his best, Carlos Silva was never an ace. But if – IF – he throws like he did in his best years in Minnesota, he could be an excellent back-end starter for the Cubs.

And therein lies the rub: Silva’s performance and attitude are getting me excited, which kind of pisses me off. I was all too eager to chuck this guy out with the dirty, nasty bath water. But now, he’s started to elevate my hopes. We’ve all been burned like this before, so you’d think my defense mechanisms against dangerous hope would be better attuned.

But alas, here I am. Hoping that maybe Silva will be acceptable. Don’t get me started on good.

  • Gargantua!

    What’s the point of loving…if you can’t gets your hopes up?

    Go with it, Aceling…go.

  • 1060Ivy

    Cubs fans who believe that Silva will throw 200 innings with a mid-4s era in 2010 are the same folks who thought that Milton Bradley was the missing piece to the club last spring.

    Could Silva be a changed man and return to the wining pitcher that he was with the Twins? Yes.
    Could I win the lottery? Yes.

    Probability of either occurring, well below 1%.

  • KB

    1060, I see your point, but I don’t think anyone expects 200 innings and a mid-4 ERA from Silva. That would be a near All-Star, these days.

    But if he’s a remotely decent #5, he will have exceeded my expectations by tenfold. That’s all I’m hoping for.
    Throw that sinker, bitch!

  • jstraw

    If Silva pitches 175 innings I’ll think getting him for Bradley was a brilliant move. 160 and I’ll be happy with him. Nobody breaking camp in the five-hole on any team is pitching anything close to 200 innings.

    • Ace

      You’re assuming that Lou won’t keep throwing him out there even though he’s sporting a 6ish ERA. If he throws 160 of 6ish, and obviously we’d all be displeased.

      • jstraw

        This is true. It’s be nice if he was only heading back out because he was dealing…not because we have no middle-relief.

  • Gargantua!

    Yeah…SINK THE BALL, BITCH!

    • Ace

      Throw strikes, let ‘em hit it. That was Silva’s mantra when he was moderately successful. Let’s hope that’s the plan.

  • steven j

    Hey if he can be a mid 4 era that would be great, but hell if he can manage high 4 low 5 era and chew up 160-170 innings I think we will be ok.. And it will have been a good move.

    And hey like u all are sayin; Throw that sinker BITCH! He throws that pitch effectively in wriggly, he might just be sucsessful.

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