Saturday, January 26, 2008
When I was at the Winter Meetings, I ran into sports agent Scott Shapiro and asked him if he would be up for doing an interview in the weeks following the meetings. He was more than happy to do it and was even willing to set me up with Carlos Silva once he signed his contract. Friday afternoon, after Carlos had settled in and prepared for this weekends Mariners Fan Fest, he gave me 15 minutes of his time to answer my questions. Silva has been in the league since 2002, spending time with the Phillies, Twins, and will now be apart of the Mariners for at least the next four years. I want to thank him again for doing this interview for me, I really appreciate it.
ELI: Congrats on the contract with the Mariners. What was the free agent process like for you?
CARLOS: It was fun, something new to me. We felt like we were in a good position and that teams had made solid offers, so it was great.
ELI: What kind of role did you play in negotiations?
CARLOS: A good amount. We were in Minnesota during the beginning of the off season, mostly talking with the Mariners.
ELI: What were your main reasons for signing with the Mariners?
CARLOS: You know, I don't really have a favorite team. I was looking to play for a winning team, and I liked the Mariners stadium. It is a pitchers park, and I like that. They also gave us what we wanted, which was important.
ELI: What is baseball like back home in Venezuela?
CARLOS: Very, very different. Here in the United States, it is at the largest stage. There is a lot of passion among the fans. They are excited, which makes it very exciting.
ELI: Can you tell me how you were signed back in 1996? What was that like for you and your family?
CARLOS: It was hard. But it was an exciting moment, a dream come true. But for my family, it was hard for them to see me come and go. But they were proud to see me be able to play baseball, so it was a great moment.
ELI: When you first came up with the Phillies, you were a reliever. Was it hard to make the switch to starting?
CARLOS: Actually it wasn't. I was a starter my whole career in the minors, about five or six years. When I got called up the Phillies put me in the bullpen because the rotation was full. It was a great experience though. They had a lot of veteran pitchers, some old guys, who really taught me a lot.
ELI: What was it like to be traded from the Phillies during the 2003 off season? Did you see it coming?
CARLOS: It was good, but I wasn't expecting it. After the season, they wanted me to pitch in Winter Ball. I was in Venezuela when I got the call that I was traded to the Twins. I was sad, very sad. It hit me hard, like 'wow.' But once I walked in to the Twins clubhouse and met everyone and learned that I had an opportunity to start, I started to feel comfortable. Now that I am with the Mariners, I want to thank the Twins for the opportunity they first gave me to start, because that is all I wanted to do.
ELI: During the 2007 season, which game that you pitched in sticks out as your favorite?
CARLOS: A lot of games do, but the day after my son was born, I pitched a nine-inning shutout. You know, I hadn't been getting much sleep in the nights leading up to it, and the day of the game I went from the hospital to the stadium. It was something special, it was the first gift for my son.
ELI: When you are starting, what time will you arrive at the stadium and what will you do?
CARLOS: Well the night before, I go to bed early. I like to rest a lot before I start. I'll eat light, and try not leave my house. [Assuming it is a 7:10 game CT], I will arrive at about 4:00 p.m. I'll read the scouting reports, think about the game. Then when it gets closer, I'll start doing the typical stuff: throwing, stretching, running, right up until game time.
ELI: You have played in Winter Ball leagues throughout your career. What adjustments do you make in those leagues?
CARLOS: As a player, you always have to make adjustments. Your whole career is adjustments. I went to Winter Ball to work on something specific. This time, I went to work on my breaking ball, to get more command of it.
ELI: Did you notice any change when you switched from NL to AL? Was it hard to adjust?
CARLOS: I try to keep that stuff out of my mind. Yes, you do have to face nine batters, but when it is all said and done, it is the same baseball. If you think it is harder, it is going to be harder.
ELI: Did you enjoy pitching in the Dome? Did you need to make nay changes when switching to play outside?
CARLOS: Only if it was cold. I loved the Metrodome though, and I was really glad to be apart of the Twins.
ELI: Who would you say was the biggest joker in the Twins clubhouse?
CARLOS: Carlos Silva. [Laughs] I like to play around, keep the team loose. If there is trouble coming, I like to yell, talk it out. I keep it clear for the team.
ELI: I like that, when it is all said and done, you still need to have fun, right?
CARLOS: Exactly. There has to be jokes, you have to be loose.
ELI: Do you have a favorite stadium to pitch in on the road?
CARLOS: Actually before now, it was Safeco. I love Seattle, it is a nice, big stadium. But besides that, I like Detroit.