Mariners secure former Twins pitcher Silva with four-year, $48M deal

SEATTLE -- No need to tell Carlos Silva how crazy it is that
the Seattle Mariners gave him a $48 million, four-year contract.

"It is wild. Everything is wild. Wild is having this life,"
the 28-year-old right-handed sinkerballer said.

Silva, 13-14 last season with the Minnesota Twins, finalized a
deal that includes a $5 million signing bonus and a $12 million
mutual option for 2012 with a $2 million buyout. His agreement came
after Seattle failed to sign Hiroki Kuroda, who agreed to a deal
with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It's good money, good for the future of my family," Silva
said. "But it's not just the money."

For Silva, this was also a chance to pitch in pitcher-friendly
Safeco Field. And some pampering from the Mariners didn't hurt.

The deal was done at a dinner in Seattle on Wednesday night for
Silva and his wife, Maria, a native of St. Paul, Minn., whom he met
while with the Twins. At the meal, Seattle general manager Bill
Bavasi learned Silva had to fly back to his native Venezuela early
Friday to host his annual holiday charity event for poor children.
So Bavasi showered Silva and his wife with Mariners T-shirts and
toys to give to the kids, many of whom, Silva said, wear Twins gear
he has given them for days at a time.

"I feel a little uncomfortable that people are treating me this
well," Silva said.

Silva's 4.19 ERA last season was better than every Mariners
starter other than hard-throwing Felix Hernandez. The Mariners love
that Silva pitches deep into games, generally stays low in the
strike zone with a sharp sinker and walked just 36 batters in 202
innings last season. Short starts that taxed a good but overused
bullpen largely explained why Seattle sunk from surprise contention
this past August to a historic swoon in September and still haven't
been to the playoffs since 2001.

"In this market, we felt this was the No. 1 guy out there,"
Bavasi said. "We think this is huge. This is a big add for us."

Silva joins a Seattle rotation that includes Hernandez, Miguel Batista and Jarrod Washburn. Batista became Bavasi's best winter
acquisition last year, winning a career-high 16 games after signing
a $25 million, three-year deal.

But Washburn has mostly been a disappointment. He's 18-29 two
seasons into a four-year, $37 million contract that he signed as a
free agent two winters ago.

Is Silva a better fit for the Mariners?

"I think he's a good fit for any club," Bavasi said. "Guys
who get American League hitters out fit anywhere.

"Getting outscored [794-813, the only winning AL team to be
outscored] and still winning 88 games, that's due in large part to
the four and five spots. Those spots in the rotation had to be
upgraded heavily."

The upgrade might not be over. One starting spot remains open,
and Bavasi acknowledged he has cast "many" fishing lines into the
free-agent and trade pool in the last month, "because you don't
know what fish you would pull up."

He's had bites from Baltimore for Bedard. That deal likely would
cost top outfield prospect Adam Jones, among others.

A baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations said the
Mariners are "very much" involved in getting the Canadian
left-hander. He requested anonymity because the talks are ongoing.

Bedard is not only good -- 13-5 last season and 15-11 the year
before for two bad Orioles teams -- his contract status is
attractive. The Canadian left-hander is still eligible for
arbitration and under team control for two more seasons.