Scott Feldman is going to totally like the National League. In yet another showing of his ability to make something out of very little, Cubs mastermind Theo Epstein has signed the immensely tall right-hander to a one-year deal worth $6 million. He can take home another $1 million if he reaches incentives, though so far we’re not sure what those incentives are. We’re guessing they have more to do with pitching than pancake eating or downhill skiing, but we could be wrong.
Feldman has been fairly consistent since 2009, though his name is hardly one most baseball fans would get excited over. Still, he’ll be a fine addition to the back of Chicago’s rotation, or perhaps the middle given that we’re dealing with a rebuilding Cubs team. Feldman made 21 starts and logged 123 2/3 innings in 2012. Over that span he struck out 6.99 per nine, walked 2.33 per nine, and posted a 5.09 ERA. Let it be known that the ERA you just looked at is a big, fat lie; Feldman had an extremely unfortunate 61% strand rate and posted FIP and xFIP numbers of 3.81 and 3.87 respectively.
It’s totally fair to assume Feldman will pitch every bit as well out of Texas and out of the American League, and if he does his results are going to look a lot better in the Windy City. I’m honestly a bit surprised that there weren’t contending teams willing to extend an offer similar to this one to Feldman, though as usual we can’t presume to know the full story or know which teams were actually involved in the bidding.
Already bringing Scott Baker to Chicago following his Tommy John operation, Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer continue to solidify their rotation as they simultaneously rebuild the mess they inherited. With Baker and Feldman now on board, the Cubs can cheaply avoid being an all-out laughing stock without having to worry about harming their long-term plans. Baker and Feldman are both on one-year deals, and no draft picks were surrendered in the making of this film. It’s impressive that Epstein is finding smart ways to save his fans complete anguish while ensuring they will still be happy once the rebuilding movement is completed in a few years; there’s a lot to learn from here for a number of general managers constantly grasping at rebuilding straws and wildly missing the point.