The Chicago Cubs signed right-handed starting pitcher Scott Feldman to a one-year $6 million deal on Tuesday that includes another $1 million in incentives. This is the second starter the Cubs have signed this month, with the other being Scott Baker on November 13. Adding Feldman and Baker to the already established group of Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Travis Wood could round out the Cubs’ starting rotation. Although the Cubs have five starters under contract on their roster, GM Jed Hoyer said, “We’re still going to look for talent,” implying that Team Theo isn’t necessarily done shopping for starting pitching this offseason. And as all Cubs fans know, starting pitching was the one must have for this offseason.
Feldman has pitched in at least part of the last eight seasons for the Texas Rangers posting a 39-44 record with a 4.81 ERA in 204 appearances, with 101 of those coming as a starter. If, in fact, Feldman does make the starting rotation, which looks very likely at this point in time, this would be his first full season as a starting pitcher in his young career. That’s the main reason he signed with the Cubs — the opportunity to pitch full time from a starting slot. Coming off of knee surgery in 2011, Feldman’s main problem last season was inconsistency. He had some great outings, such as his eight shutout innings against the Chicago White Sox, but he was pretty rough at times like when he gave up eight runs in 1.2 innings against the Oakland A’s.
In my opinion, part of Feldman’s problem the last few years has been his concern about being demoted. He has bounced around from the bullpen to the starting rotation since he became a starter, and he’s been on a short leash his whole career in the rotation. If he had one bad outing, he would be demoted back to the bullpen, and this is at least partially due to the Rangers’ depth in their pitching staff.
So, Feldman is coming to Chicago because he knows, more than likely, he is going to be the guy. We don’t have the depth other teams have to move him around, and he knows he’s going to have a shot to get in a routine, find his rhythm and be the high-caliber pitcher that most people know and believe he can be.
I think this is a great signing for the Cubs because if it doesn’t work out, it’s only a one-year deal. But if Feldman lights it up, then, hopefully, the Cubs can sign the 29-year-old to a longer-term deal where he could potentially develop into a front-end-of-the-rotation guy.