Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The connected careers of Alfredo Silverio, Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford

When Jorge Soler was a free agent, I wanted the Dodgers to go after the Cuban slugger. When he signed a 9-year, $30 million deal with the Cubs on June 11, I was a little surprised at the length of the deal, but could understand why the Dodgers didn't want give that contract duration to an unproven 19-year-old.

Then, the Dodgers ponied up $42 million for seven years of Yasiel Puig on June 28 -- a move that didn't come out of nowhere, but was surprising nonetheless.

If that wasn't enough, the team went and acquired Carl Crawford in August as part of the Adrian Gonzalez deal.

So, the Dodgers now have four outfielders signed to long-term deals. Eventually, one of them will be traded (my money is on Andre Ethier, especially after Crawford's hot start to 2013).

But my question is: would the Dodgers have made these moves if Silverio hadn't been in the car accident and subsequently needed Tommy John surgery?

Silverio came off a career year in 2011, in which he hit .306/.340/.542 with a Southern League-leading 76 extra base hits (42 doubles, 18 triples, 16 home runs). He was poised for a huge season in Triple-A before a nasty car accident in January 2012.

What's unfortunate is, the Dodgers may or may not have misdiagnosed Silverio due to a language barrier.

Ben Badler wrote an article about it in December.
"The Dodgers brought Silverio in for tests and determined that he had a concussion. Only there was one problem: Silverio said the test was done in English. Silverio signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2003 and can speak English, but it's not his native language. Silverio said he understood everything the doctors were telling him, but he wanted to think about what they were saying before he responded, which may have been misinterpreted.
With Silverio's concussion, the Dodgers wanted him to stay off the field, but Silverio asked the Dodgers if he could get a second opinion. When Silverio went to the University of Pittsburgh a few weeks later for a test—this time conducted in Spanish—Silverio said they told him he did not have a concussion. Even with that, Silverio still missed the entire 2012 season, as he had Tommy John surgery that spring, which Silverio said he believes was the result of an elbow injury he sustained in the car accident."
Silverio, now with the Marlins after Miami nabbed him in the Rule 5 Draft, is on the 60-day disabled list due to a sprained elbow -- the same elbow which required Tommy John surgery last year.

Silverio is a dynamic player and is at least an average defender in left field. I never had him rated terribly high (No. 12 heading into 2012), but Baseball America had him ranked as high as No. 4 (same year). He's a tool shed who doesn't walk. He does everything else relatively well -- at least, he did before his injury.

While his future is still unknown, it would have been interesting to see his time play out with the Dodgers. Perhaps Crawford is playing elsewhere (Anaheim, perhaps?) or he's still wallowing in Boston. Perhaps we don't know how to pronounce Puig if Silverio is never in that car accident, even though I'm willing to bet the Dodgers wouldn't have shied away from nabbing Puig on the open market. I suppose there's less chance the team would have acquired Crawford, unless Silverio were dealt to Boston in that deal,

Everything truly does happen for a reason. With Silverio, there could be no Crawford. But the Dodgers could still be in a similar position with four outfielders for three spots. Perhaps Silverio would have been traded eventually if the team had Ethier, Matt Kemp and Puig. Perhaps Silverio -- not Puig -- is getting the headlines in the minor leagues.

I still hope Silverio goes on to have a long and distinguished career. The first step is getting healthy and getting back on the field. He has a great opportunity in Miami, especially after Giancarlo Stanton is traded to the Dodgers this winter (I know, another outfielder, but TEH POWER).

As weird and potentially messed up as it sounds, perhaps the car accident was a positive for Silverio's baseball career. I can't imagine the hell and pain he went through on a personal level, though. And frankly, that outweighs everything else.

But only time will tell if he can turn it into a positive.

Photo credits
Silverio: mwlguide, Flickr
Puig and Crawford: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

1 comment:

  1. I cannot agree with your premise. I believe the focus of the trade from the Dodger standpoint was AGon, and they basically had to swallow the rest to get him. Bobsince58