Is Carlos Silva impressively confident, or embarrassingly delusional? I’m not quite sure.
But I am sure that the Chicago Cubs’ rotation prospects are looking both bright and crowded these days. With Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza assured of the front three spots, the Cubs will have to figure out how to accommodate Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny, Silva, Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, and Jay Jackson with just two back-end spots.
For Silva’s part, he says forget about two back-end spots. There’s only one left.
“In baseball, the whole thing is about competition,” Silva said Friday at the Cubs Convention. “I’m not a kid. I’m not a rookie anymore. I know how everything works. But I showed this team what I can do last year. Everyone is saying they’re looking for a fourth and fifth starter. I think that’s ridiculous.”
In Silva’s mind, he already has a rotation spot, and the only thing he can do is lose it. He said the heart and elbow issues are in the past.
“If I’m not going to be in the rotation (at the start of spring), I’m going to win my spot,” he said. “I trust myself. I know what I can do. I’m feeling great and looking forward to this season.” chicagotribune.com.
Before heart and elbow issues (well, and maybe reality) derailed his 2010 season, Carlos Silva was not only the most surprising pitcher in baseball, but he was the best pitcher in the Cubs’ rotation. So, in that regard, if Silva believes that to be the true Silva, I can see where he’s coming from. The Cubs would be crazy not to have that guy in the rotation.
But the problem is, there’s that other guy. The out of shape guy. The ineffective guy. The guy who was – literally – the worst starting pitcher in baseball from 2008 to 2009. And before that, he was just ok; he wasn’t the guy we saw for a few months in early 2010, so there’s little reason to believe that’s the true Silva. Sorry, Carlos.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Silva already having a rotation spot locked up is, as mentioned, the number crunch. Manager Mike Quade has repeatedly confirmed that the Cubs intend (rightly) to try Andrew Cashner out in the rotation this year. If true, that leaves just one spot left. And if that spot belongs to Silva, that means – as presently constructed – there’s no spot left for EITHER Randy Wells or Tom Gorzelanny. That’s, frankly, nuts. Sure, Gorzelanny is as good as gone, but Wells is clearly one of the best five starting pitchers on this team. This blog has become the unwitting champion of the idea that Wells is one of the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball, and damnit, we’re not backing down now.
Silva may end up in the rotation, but it’s going to take some external changes, and stellar performance. One thing he’s got going for him? He’s going to be here. Unlike Gorzelanny or Wells or the youngsters, Silva has basically no trade value. So unless the Cubs dump him for nothing, he’ll be a member of the Cubs. And that’s a start.