Twins pick up Silva's 2007 option

Twins pick up Silva's 2007 option

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins will have at least two starting pitchers with more than a year's worth of experience next season, as the club announced on Tuesday that it picked up the $4.35 million option for Carlos Silva.

Silva and Johan Santana will be the lone returning members of the staff who spent the entire 2006 season in the Majors. Brad Radke, the club's only other veteran starter this past season, is expected to announce his retirement at some point in early November.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan knows that the starting rotation is one of the club's greatest concerns heading into the offseason, and that's one of the reasons that the decision to retain Silva was made.

"Our pitching staff is an area of concern for me," Ryan said. "We believe that we are going to get Carlos back on track. He's still young. He's had some good years for us. Unfortunately, this year for Silva didn't go as well as anybody wanted, but we're going to try to get him back to the point where we can count on him every five days as one of our starting pitchers."

Last season was quite frustrating for both Silva and the club, as the 27-year-old struggled to find the control that he has possessed for most of his career. The right-hander went 11-15 with a 5.94 ERA in 36 appearances (31 starts) in 2006. He spent most of the year in the rotation but had a brief stint in the bullpen in May after a string of poor starts.

Much was done throughout the season to try to help get Silva back on track. In the end, it was just a season to forget, as his ERA was one of the worst in the Majors and he gave up a Major League-leading 38 home runs.

But despite his struggles, Silva still finished second on the club in starts and innings pitched during a year in which the club saw much upheaval in its staff. With the inexperience of many young arms fighting for openings in the rotation, there was a feeling of comfort in knowing that Silva had been through it all before.

"He knows our philosophy, he knows our market and he knows our chemistry in our clubhouse," Ryan said of Silva. "He's very capable of being a guy that you could put out there in that starting rotation and give you a pretty good start."

Silva's contract stipulated that the Twins had until five days after the World Series to decide whether to pick up the right-hander's option for the 2007 season. If the Twins had declined the option, Silva would have been paid a $100,000 buyout and been eligible for salary arbitration.

Retaining Silva appears to be just the first step in Ryan's attempt to address the concerns that remain around the starting staff.

With Santana and Silva occupying two spots in the rotation, the Twins will likely give chances to young arms such as Boof Bonser, Matt Garza and Glen Perkins to fill the other open slots. But with a lack of depth in an area that has always been one of the strongest for the Twins, Ryan said that starting pitching is something that he will look for this offseason.

"Yes, there's no doubt it's something we will address," Ryan said of the rotation. "I'm somewhat concerned about depth there, as a lot of clubs are. We're no exception. In terms of starting pitching, we're looking at numbers and we're trying to make sure we're covered in case of injuries or disappointment."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.