With Major League Baseball’s trade deadline less than a month away, the Baltimore Orioles made the dealing season’s first significant acquisition Tuesday when they acquired pitcher Scott Feldman from the Chicago Cubs.
The deal sent pitchers Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta to the Cubs in exchange for Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. Chicago also received Baltimore’s international signing bonus slots Nos. 3 and 4, which will help the struggling franchise pick up foreign talent.
Feldman started 15 games this season in his first year with the Cubs and amassed a 7-6 record with a 3.46 earned-run average. Before his time in the Chicago, Feldman spent eight years with the Texas Rangers and won 17 games in 2009, good for fourth in the American League. The righty was scheduled to pitch on Tuesday night in Oakland.
The Orioles are 2½ games back of Boston in the American League East and in line for a wild card berth but have the second-worst team ERA in the baseball (4.43). They recently designated starting pitcher Freddy Garcia for assignment and called up Kevin Gausman, who started games earlier in the year and has since been used as a long reliever.
Feldman, 30, will make $6 million in 2013 and be eligible for free agency after the season.
“Our intent was to stabilize our rotation ... and we think this deal will do that,” general manager Dan Duquette told the Baltimore Sun. “We had to weigh it against other factors.”
Strop had a letdown season in Baltimore after a breakout performance in 2012. The reliever’s 7.25 ERA was worst on the Orioles of any pitcher with over 10 appearances. Arrieta had a 7.23 ERA in five starts for Baltimore, his last a 4 2/3-inning debacle in which he surrendered five runs and 10 hits to the Tigers. Clevenger, who went to high school in Baltimore, appeared in just eight games for the Cubs this year and recorded just one hit despite putting up gaudy numbers in Triple-A ball.
Feldman was a valuable member of Texas Rangers playoff teams in 2010 and 2011, and his near-flawless performance in three outings of the 2011 AL Championship Series was a key to the Rangers’ six-game triumph over the Detroit Tigers.
Arrieta, 27, emerged as a top prospect soon after the Orioles drafted him in the fifth round in 2007. But he struggled to maintain a spot in their rotation and instead will try to regain his prospect status with the rebuilding Cubs.
“Sometimes a change is (needed),” Duquette told the Sun. “This will be a fresh start for Jake, and I wish him a lot of luck.”
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