Re: Give the gold to Silva
That's not an apples to apples comparison. We have to compare Silva to what we knew about Milton when we signed him. Here are Milton's numbers in the year's preceding the Reds signing him:
1999: 206.1 IP, 7.11 K/9
2000: 200.0 IP, 7.20 K/9
2001: 220.2 IP, 6.40 K/9
2002: 171.0 IP, 6.37 K/9
2003: 17.0 IP, 3.71 K/9
2004: 201.0 IP, 7.21 K/9
That's the pitcher the Reds thought they were giving a contract to. Namely, a durable starter with above average strikeout ability and good control, but with strong flyball tendencies. He pitched 201 innings in 2004, indicated (wrongly) to Reds brass that he was healthy again after missing most of 2003.
3 fewer Ks per 9 is an inning per game that Silva relies on his defense relative to the average pitcher. Given BABIP rates, that's a hit per game, based just on his non-strikeouts. Given the high hit rate in Cincy (due both to HR frequency in GABP and the Reds low DER ), that's a recipe for a step back in performance.
If Silva is going to be as good as Milton, who similarly had league average upside even when completely healthy, I would hope we've learned our lesson.
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.