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Taking Depth to Another Level

The 2011 New York Yankees have given Minor League contracts to four different starting pitchers this spring. Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon broke camp with the big league club, Kevin Millwood was sent to AAA camp to strengthen his arm, and most recently, the Yankees signed Carlos Silva to a Minor League contract.

The Silva signing leaves me scratching my head. I understand that his former pitching coach in Chicago will be his current pitching coach in New York if he ever makes it up to the Bronx, but why are the Yankees making so many signings like these? Insurance is the only reason I can think of.

The Yankees, prior to the Silva signing, had more than enough depth. Bartolo Colon is more than capable of filling in for a spot start. Also, using him for the day would not require the Yankees to cut someone loose from the 25-man roster, while calling someone up from the farm would. 

Kevin Millwood would be next in line, but he'll need until early May to get his arm strength up because he missed most of Spring Training. In that scenario, Silva makes some sense, if his arm is ready for 100 pitches. If not, he is in the same boat as Millwood.

There are also plenty of capable arms in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and D.J. Mitchell are all currently in the AAA rotation. If need be, one of them could have been called up to make a spot start. Does Cashman really think Carlos Silva would be that much better than one of Brackman, Noesi, Phelps, Warren or Mitchell?

Taking a look at Carlos Silva's Baseball-Reference page will leave nothing to be desired. He hasn't been healthy since 2007, and since then, his ERA+ is 74, 26 points below league average. Granted, in 113 IP last year, his ERA+ was 103. As a fan, would you rather see him on the mound, or would you rather see what one of the AAA kids can do?

One question still remains. Will Silva be taking innings away from the kids at AAA? If he is, I do not approve of this deal. If not, there's nothing wrong with a little extra insurance.