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.”

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.

  • DaveB

    Theres no way in hell Wells doesn’t get the 4th spot. Hes earned it over the last 2 seasons and has shown hes very reliable (no injuries during that time).
    That leaves the 5th spot. Now, this is all assuming Gorz gets traded. While it appears that many fans (and Mike Quade) alike want to see Cashner in that 5 spot, if Silva pitches in Spring Training like he did last spring than I would have no problem with Silva taking the 5th spot. We know that hes inevitably going to get injured/his heart will explode and he will eventually be out of the rotation. Even if he only pitches well for the first month or 2 (like he did last season), we might as well take what we can get,out of him and have Cashner waiting in the wings for when Silva bites the dust.
    While we all would love to see Cashner in the rotation, I don’t think anybody will argue with the results that Silva put up in the first couple of months in 2010.

  • Philoe Beddoe

    As one of the only Jim Hendry supporters on this board…I would like to point out that Hendry got Gorzelany as a ‘throw in’ in the Grabow deal involving Kevin Hart…just as Chris Archer was a ‘throw in’ for DeRosa…(actually credit probably should go to the scouting staff on those two)….

    so all you guys ready to fire him…I think he has made some pretty astute moves..Now if I knew Hendry was solely behind the Soriano signing, then I would agree he should deserve a fate worse than just being fired (tried for treason, public stoning, or water boarding come to mind)..but I have always heard that Crane Kenney was pushing for that one…

    anyhoo, I would support keeping both Wells and Gorzelany in the rotation..

    • juniobors

      I have heard it was then vice president john mcdonough that wanted the soriano splash signing. Crane kenney is oblivious to the sport known as baseball.

    • Ace

      One point of clarification: Chris Archer was by no means a throw-in in the DeRosa trade. Each of the three pitching prospects the Cubs got were considered solid, but Archer was roundly considered the one with the highest upside.

      • KB

        Exactly. And do recall that DeRosa was coming off a career season in which he was about the most valuable player on a team that won 97 games.

        At the time, many were enraged that JH basically seemed to be scuttling the ’09 season in order to acquire Archer. And he ended up being trade fodder for a #3 starter (hopefully a #2).
        It wasn’t exactly Milt Pappas for Frank Robinson.

        • Skootr

          That DeRosa trade still breaks my heart. It was the beginning of the end for that incarnation of the Cubs, one that I still believe had a legitimate shot at a World Series had they kept them together.

  • marc

    I believe he meant he’ll be on the rotation to go get the donuts in the morning. He has plenty of experience and im sure he picks a good spot every now and then