The Mariners just signed Robbie Ray to one of the biggest FA contracts in team history. It’s a move I’m incredibly excited about. However, it also reminded me of the largest FA contract ever signed by a pitcher before this in Mariners history. That honor belonged to Carlos Silva.
“The guy from the Twins?” Yup, that Carlos Silva. Back in the 07/08 offseason, the Mariners signed Carlos Silva to a 4/48 deal. Up until this offseason, it was the largest FA deal the team had ever handed out to a pitcher, and the 5th largest FA deal they had ever done. Wanna take a second to think of the top 4? I’ll give you the answer later on.
Carlos Silva was the biggest, and most disappointing, contract ever handed to a pitcher in Mariners history.
The deal didn’t really make sense when it happened. Silva ate innings in Minnesota, averaging 193 IP, but with a 4.42 ERA. You could also argue his first two years there were his best two, although his final year has a chance at being his second-best year there. Still, he wasn’t good, and it was a signing that never should’ve happened.
Well, let me adjust that statement. I was actually a fairly big Silva fan when he was with the Twins. This was before analytics were as mainstream as they are now, so they were harder to understand and get a grasp on. He had a fair amount of outings where he seemed like he was a better pitcher than what he was putting up, but also a fair amount of times where he would struggle.
The kind of pitcher that, if he got into the right situation, could make a leap. We had seen the times where he was good. Especially as a Mariners fan, he’s the pitcher you hope the team signs for a decent price, and it ends up being a good deal. The opposite happened, as they overpaid for a guy that had never shown the ability to earn a contract like that.
What’s crazy, is that the Mariners hadn’t overspent in free agency… ever. In fact, up until they gave Silva his deal, they had only given out $25 million or more FIVE TIMES IN HISTORY!
Everyone wants an innings eater. Silva was that… but, he was only that. For someone who doesn’t strike that many out, and wasn’t going to give you outstanding appearances, it was way too much money. Teams have gotten a lot smarter now, but when you have someone like Jon Gray signing for 4/56, you can see the massive overpay by the Mariners back then.
He ended up making $8.25 million, 11, (leaving the team), and still earning 3.5 and 5.5. That comes to a total of 28.25 for two seasons in which he amassed 183.2 innings, a 6.81 ERA, a 4.85 FIP, a 1.617 (!) WHIP, just 2.1 BB/9, but an astonishingly low 3.9 K/9. Even Chris Flexen would scoff at that.
The answer, by the way, is Cano (10-240), Beltre (5-64), Cruz (4-57), and Sexson (4-50). Thankfully, Carlos Silva is no longer in the top 5 or the highest FA contract the Mariners have given out. Time to root for Robbie Ray and his tight pants!