Silva, 31, was released by the Cubs in late March after he did not make the team's 25-man roster and would not accept a Minor League assignment with Chicago.
On the way out, he complained that pitching coach Mark Riggins had not been honest with him about his potential role on the team, a charge that both manager Mike Quade and general manager Jim Hendry disputed.
The Cubs are responsible for most of Silva's $11.25 million salary, and he will report to the Yankees' Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday. Eventually, he could be reunited with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who was with him last year in Chicago.
"We worked well together," Rothschild said. "I didn't have any problems with him."
Silva was 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts last season. He has a career record of 70-70 with a 4.68 ERA in nine Major League seasons with the Phillies, Twins, Mariners and Cubs.
"He's got to get himself ready," Rothschild said. "He's a strike thrower, and that's not a bad thing to have. He's a command guy and he's got a real good changeup, so we'll see."
New York has been looking to stockpile pitching depth. Late in Spring Training, the Yankees also signed veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood to a Minor League contract. Millwood can opt out of his deal if he is not added to the big league roster by May 1.
"You have a few guys and you hope you catch lightning in a bottle in one or two," Rothschild said. "So far with [Bartolo] Colon and [Luis] Ayala, we've gotten pretty lucky and they've thrown the ball well. If we can do that one or two more times, it's going to help us a lot."
-- Bryan Hoch