Cubs dump Carlos Silva after his rant to media
By gordon wittenmyer email@example.com March 27, 2011 11:24PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
MESA, Ariz. — A day after Carlos Silva fired on the Cubs, the Cubs fired back — and fired him.
Silva, who ripped the front office and new pitching coach Mark Riggins on Saturday when he didn’t make the opening roster, was unconditionally released Sunday morning. The Cubs will eat the $11.5 million left on his contract rather than keep him around while trying to trade him.
‘‘Obviously,’’ general manager Jim Hendry said, ‘‘we’re dealing with a man that at this particular point in his career is not willing to face the facts that what he’s done the last few years, except for a two-month period, is well below major-league standards and who seems to make the continual [habit] of blaming everybody but himself.’’
Silva, who was one of the worst performers in camp until his most recent start Wednesday, said the Cubs misled him about his status and criticized Riggins in particular for that, saying, ‘‘He has to learn he’s in the big leagues now.’’ Riggins previously was the Cubs’ minor-league pitching coordinator.
Cubs officials, who say Silva was respectful in conversations with them, were livid about the hefty right-hander’s public comments.
‘‘First of all, he’s dead f---ing wrong about my pitching coach. And I got no f---ing time for that,’’ manager Mike Quade said. ‘‘And second, respect is a two-way street, period. If you’re not willing to give it, you’re not getting it.
‘‘And the third thing — that everybody needs to know — this was my call. If you want to be irritated with somebody, this is on me.’’
Riggins, one of Silva’s supporters this spring, took the high road.
‘‘Carlos has his opinion, and I’ll leave it at that,’’ Riggins said. ‘‘I try to stay positive with everything. It’s water under the bridge. . . . It happens. I understand the emotions that go with things.’’
Asked if Silva had apologized, Riggins said, ‘‘I’ll make no comment on that. . . . This game gives people a lot of character. Most people in baseball are very successful once they leave the game. And so I wish him the best, and if I can help him in any way, the door’s always open.’’
Silva, who showed up to spring training out of shape after being assigned an offseason conditioning plan, was uncompetitive out of the gate this spring, even causing a dugout dustup with teammate Aramis Ramirez after just his first inning pitched.
This after a second half last season in which he won just one game and pitched just 111/3 innings.
‘‘Basically, he wasn’t good enough to make the team,’’ Hendry said. ‘‘You factor in not only spring training, but you try to go back and factor in the second half last year, and you’re looking at a guy that had a 14-something ERA from July 11 on and that came to camp with the notion that he already had a spot in the rotation.’’
The Cubs had planned to take the next several days to try to trade Silva, obviously prepared to absorb the lion’s share of the $11.5 million left on his contract. Silva also was scheduled to pitch Monday.
All of that went by the wayside after the comments Saturday.
‘‘I won’t tolerate it,’’ Hendry said.
Baker sitting tight
Infielder Jeff Baker, the Cubs’ probable leadoff hitter for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm, remains sidelined with a tight hamstring, although it’s not considered serious.
‘‘I’m going to be over-the-top cautious with this,’’ Quade said.