By Dan Bernstein–
Can Carlos Silva be traded for Charlie Sheen?
It’s a win/win, folks. The Cubs get rid of their highly-disliked, out-of-shape pitcher and pick up America’s death-spiral darling, who has already played a crazy pitcher on screen.
CBS gets a new show by inserting the blubbery Silva into the cast: “Three and a Half Men.”
That deal would almost be the right conclusion of the garbage-for-garbage business that brought him here in the first place, with Jim Hendry’s brilliant decision to hand Milton Bradley a three-year, $30 million contract still paying dividends.
Bradley’s embarrassing, tumultuous stint in Chicago included clashes with umpires, teammates, media, fans, hitting coach Von Joshua and manager Lou Piniella, and ended with his suspension. He went to Seattle for Silva and cash.
Silva pitched relatively well last season, but was shelved for the year in September with a strained elbow. The Cubs did not miss him on the field after that (15-8 the rest of the way), and they certainly did not miss him off of it.
It went largely unreported last season that Silva has made few, if any, friends in the clubhouse. That he would be one of the parties involved in yesterday’s dugout scuffle is no surprise to anyone aware of how so many feel about him, Aramis Ramirez apparently included. Silva’s tendency to call out teammates has followed him here, to his fourth team in nine years.
This is a classic case of sunk cost. The money is gone whether he stays or goes, save for a $2 million buyout of the mutual option for 2012, but the Mariners already defrayed that by including the $6 million to make up the difference between his contract and Bradley’s. Though Tom Ricketts may not have the immediate liquidity to make free agent deals, this is still just bad Tribune money spent by Hendry.
Now, the decision must be made as to what is best for the Cubs, their first-year manager, and their mental well-being.
We’re not having the debate over whether it matters that teammates like each other. We’ll never be able to quantify any negative effect of a jerk’s personality, but we should hold Hendry and the Cubs to their own standard. If Bradley’s behavior necessitated his removal from the team even on the watch of an ostensibly strong, veteran skipper, why would they want Silva around this group?
He’s a fifth starter who would not be missed. Let the woebegone Cardinals pick him up as a Dave Duncan reclamation project and let them enjoy his delightful antics.
Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner can be your 4-5 starters (or, as I’d prefer, your 5-4) behind the top three of Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza. Silva may have ended up as a useless, long reliever anyway.
Cutting Silva would be a bold, decisive, symbolic stroke for a team that is counting on some young players and untested leadership.
It would be well received by all, lamented by none.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here.
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