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Brewers 12, Cubs 5: Silva, Ramirez Host Spring Training Fight Club

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Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs watches from the dugout during a 2011 spring training game. He hit a home run today. That's good. The rest of the game? Not so much.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs watches from the dugout during a 2011 spring training game. He hit a home run today. That's good. The rest of the game? Not so much. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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It's way too early to overreact to an incident like the one that happened in the Cubs dugout between Carlos Silva and... well, somebody, because Silva hasn't discussed what happened, yet. (I assume he will, and yes, he should.)

If you missed today's 12-5 Cubs loss to the Brewers, most of the action happened in the 30+ minute first inning. The Cubs took the lead on a two-run homer by Starlin Castro off Yovani Gallardo. That's a good thing, right? It all fell apart in the bottom of the first -- Castro made another error, and so did Aramis Ramirez, and then when it looked like the Cubs had turned a double play to get out of the inning, Koyie Hill was called for catcher's interference.

That third error of the inning (CI is officially E-2) apparently incensed Silva. He apparently got into a scuffle in the dugout that was tweeted by Cubs beat writers in attendance -- here are a few more details -- and was removed from the game, later leaving on a golf cart. It was noted that he drove right past former Cub LaTroy Hawkins, now with the Brewers, on leaving. A later tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer elaborated:

Sori says its ramirez and silva.less than a minute ago via txt

Well. It's very easy for me to sit here and say "OMGGETRIDOFHIMRIGHTNOWGETITDONEJIM" but that would be a knee-jerk reaction, similar to the one I had when Carlos Zambrano had his meltdown last June. Z did what he needed to do to deal with these sorts of issues and, if he can even come close to what he did after returning last August, he'll be close to being that "ace" everyone said he needed to be after signing the $90 million deal in 2007.

Carlos Silva could do the same, I suppose. But even if Silva is at the best he's ever been, that would be the first two months of 2010 -- which was unexpected and good, but not "ace". Is it time for the Cubs to simply eat the (approximately) $6 million they owe him and let him go? Maybe, but it's early in spring training.

This isn't the first time Silva has done this to teammates, though it's the first time since he's been in Chicago. Check out this incident from August 2008, although that didn't involve a fight, just calling out players to the media -- something guaranteed to not endear your teammates to you.

The Cubs have other fifth starter options, starting with Andrew Cashner; Casey Coleman is another possibility; even Braden Looper or Todd Wellemeyer might have a shot. The bottom line is, is it worth $6 million to simply eat the deal and let Silva go? Jim Hendry has a decision to make, and fairly soon. If the other pitchers perform better, that makes the decision easier, and it won't just be because of a dugout meltdown.

Beyond that, the Cubs made five total errors, Alfonso Soriano homered and Castro had another two-hit day and is still hitting .667 (6-for-9) with three RBI. The defense simply has to get better. Today was brutal. Manager Mike Quade was quoted by another Gordo tweet as saying he's going to meet with the team regarding "sloppiness", which must be addressed.

Never thought you'd have this much excitement this early in the spring, did you?

Attendance, again, was low today; only 3,548 showed up at Maryvale. That, again, is low even for this time of year and for a Brewers home game -- they generally don't draw that well except when the Cubs are there, and today even that didn't help. Other Cactus League games were also very sparsely attended: Surprise (4,156), Phoenix (2,325), Goodyear (2,037), Peoria (2,150) and Glendale (3,560). The Giants and Diamondbacks will play at the new Salt River complex tonight.

On March 10, 2010 -- a comparable date, the Wednesday of the first full week of spring training, attendance was as follows: 5,118 in Tempe; 2,271 in Goodyear; 3,428 in Phoenix, 6,031 in Surprise; 9,381 in Mesa; 5,696 in Glendale; 3,973 in Peoria and 3,103 in Tucson, almost all of those far higher than today. As noted, it's early -- but this bears watching.