Jon Morosi of Fox Sports has tweeted that, according to an Italian sports reporter, Mario Salvini, the Blue Jays have signed Tiago da Silva, a Brazilian-born, Italian by marriage right-handed pitcher to a minor league contract.
First, let’s look at the source of this info before we look at the player himself. Andrew Stoeten did a nice write up about da Silva yesterday, bringing in some reporting from foreign websites and then from Baseball America.
While Jon Morosi’s usually a very reliable source, in his tweet, he cites Mario Salvini as the source of the announcement. Salvini has nothing about it on his twitter page, preferring to posting photos of female Russian volleyball players and Kylie Minogue.
I did find an article on Tiago da Silva on Salvini’s website, Che Palle! in which no mention of the Blue Jays is made. Basically, he’s commenting on the fact that da Silva has helped his Venezuelan club team to the league championship after pitching in the Mexican League during the summer season.
The news of the Blue Jays signing da Silva seems to come from the blog Segunda Base, a Brazilian blog, tracking their native son. Their source is the Italian site Baseball Mania which features an interview in which da Silva says that he will sign a contract today, Saturday. From the interview, I think da Silva was trying to be vague without giving away details but Baseball Mania pressed and . . . [translation from Italian thanks to Google Translate.]
Baseball Mania: Now what will you do? Come back a little to Suzano from [his wife] Katia [Boscarol] and [probably his son] Franklin?
Tiago da Silva: No, now I have the Caribe Series to be played by two to eight in February!
BM: And Then?
TdS: Well … then play all my cards in a new experience!
BM: How not to return to Mexico?
TdS: No, I was invited to the Spring Trainig! [sic]
BM: So you go to America! How deductible?
TdS: The Toronto Blue Jays! I sign tomorrow! I do not know yet if I will play in Major or go down in the Minors, we see!
So that was fun! There’s your source for the announcement. We obviously won’t see anything official from the Blue Jays until he actually signs, which, according to reports is going to happen today (according to Segunda Base, the interview was conducted yesterday).
Who is Tiago da Silva and should we get excited? Da Silva was probably one of the best relievers in the Mexican League this year, throwing 61 innings with a 2.07 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP to go along with 12 walks and 75 strikeouts. He continued his outstanding strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Venezuelan Winter League with 37 strikeouts and just three walks in 30 innings, posting a 2.70 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
But what can we expect from da Silva? I’m expecting that he joins the Jays in New Hampshire or Buffalo. The best read on a scouting report we can get is that da Silva’s fastball is not major league quality. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America wrote about da Silva as part of a group of pitchers who had a “Slow and Slower Approach” to pitching by the Italian National Team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. While da Silva’s fastball velocity wasn’t quantified, he’s in the same paragraph as Chris Cooper (84-86 mph), Brian Sweeney (87 mph) and Pat Venditte (82-83 mph).
In another article, Cooper calls his delivery “deceptive” and he threw “changeup after changeup, at speeds ranging from slow to slower.” Cooper quotes catcher Drew Butera who says:
“He has kind of a funky motion, and I think a little deception that helped him as well. … He has a couple of speeds to his changeup. He has one that jumps at you and another one that’s like a Bugs Bunny changeup. It just seems to never get there.”
Finally, it seems that da Silva, while having great control, may have a tendency to give up big home runs. In a third Baseball America article, John Manuel noted that da Silva started a game against the Dominican Republic in that 2013 WBC, giving up two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
“Both runs he allowed Tuesday came on solo home runs that were crushed. [Jose] Reyes, who flew out to the base of the wall in right field in the first, pulled a 1-2 pitch for a home run down the line in right field in the third inning. It is 335 feet to the pole, and Reyes’ line shot smacked off the Miccosukee sign, about 35 feet up.”
While this is an interesting signing, I’m not going to expect too much from it. But “Tiago da Silva” is kind of fun to say!
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