Fast and furious today … I like it.

The Chicago Cubs today signed free agent pitcher Scott Feldman to a one-year deal for $6 million plus $1 million in incentives. Although he’s worked out of the pen a bit in recent years, he’s almost certainly being brought in as a starting pitcher.

The signing comes on the heels of another one-year deal by the Cubs, that with Scott Baker ($5.5 million plus incentives), who is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Like Baker, Feldman isn’t the type that you picture as a middle-of-the-rotation mainstay in 2013, but instead is more of a flippable type, whom the Cubs would hope reclaims some value by mid-season.

I discussed Scott Feldman as a possible Cubs target back when the Rangers declined his 2013 option, since he fit the mold of the type the Cubs have been looking to pursue:

The Rangers turned Feldman loose after a mediocre year as a mostly-starter. He looked like he was on his way to a successful career in the middle-to-back of a rotation when he had to have microfracture surgery in his knee before the 2011 season. His 2012 season saw him put up a 5.09 ERA over 123.2 innings … HOWEVA, he had a 3.81 FIP, a .318 BABIP (20 points higher than his career average), and a 3.00 K/BB ratio. That’s a very attractive looking middle-tier, bounce-back candidate starter right there. He turns 30 in February.

In other words, this signing – with really does mirror the Baker signing in so many ways – offers a lot to like.

The Feldman signing theoretically fills up the rotation, with him slotting in behind Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, and Scott Baker. If that was the end of the rotation picture, it would be a disappointing one, as neither Baker nor Feldman are locks to be both healthy and productive in 2013, and wouldn’t represent much – if any – upgrade over the Dempster/Garza/Samardzija/Maholm/Wood rotation of the early part of last year. For that reason, I’m not sure I see the Cubs as done tinkering in the rotation just yet.

I’m sure we’ll be discussing just that quite a bit over the coming days, but you can expect to hear the Cubs say vague things like, “you can never have too many arms, and we’ll consider anything that makes the Cubs better in 2013 and in the long-term.” Some folks will say that means the Cubs are done with the rotation, while others will say the Cubs will keep looking.

As noted in the comments, the Cubs will have to clear a 40-man spot for Feldman before his signing can become officially official. You would imagine it would either be a pitcher like Casey Coleman, or a non-tender like Ian Stewart.

  • Tim

    I don’t think the cubs give 5.5-7 million to guys they don’t plan on having in the rotation. Relief pitchers are just not worth that much money. if they were to sign McCarthy or Liriano for example, what would they do? Would they be pressured to trade Garza in spring training?

    • Justin

      I could see them going after Liriano if they stick Wood in pen or if Feldman or Baker are still hurt to start the year. Wood did alright last year, but it would be nice to have a great lefty to back him up and start in replace of him if he struggles again

  • Fastball

    I think the Cubs are just trying to get to the 9 starters mark. I think they are still going to be aggressive on McCarthy and possibly Marcum. We still have a long way to go this winter. I don’t think Feldman is penciled in as a starter anymore than Baker is. I like the stockpiling of pitchers. It’s better to have a bunch of guys than basically a limited few. I hope we sign 3 or 4 more of these guys this winter. I see some moving to our bullpen. If we can only sign a few good positional players it will help us get the McCarthy and Marcum’s signed this off season.

    • Chris

      I don’t think you sign your 6th & 7th starters to $5m+ contracts though. Maybe they don’t feel Wood is the 3rd starter and will push him to the pen. Maybe they are closer to moving Garza than we think. Time will only tell.

  • Rizzofanclub

    Maybe this is rotation depth and they have something worked out where they will send Garza to the Royals? They could then sign another pitcher from free agency. What kind of return do you think they could get from the Royals? Would a Garza for Odorizzi be fair? Or Yordano Ventura and Jason Adam for Garza and a prospect? I am really trying to not over value the cubs players.

  • Fastball

    I don’t think there is going to be any pressure to trade Garza. These pitchers we have signed are not breaking the bank. I look at them as purely short term investments. Trading someone we should probably extend doesn’t make sense.

  • Fastball

    I hope Casey Coleman gets outrighted or sent back to AAA on a minor league contract taking him off the 40 man roster. Or trade him. As long as he is gone. He sucks.

  • abe

    Brett, do you think the cubs will/should go after david wright?

  • Matt

    Don’t mean to be picky but i think the picture you have at the top of this article is Colby Lewis not Scott Feldman. :)

    • Brett

      Not picky at all. It’s weird – I thought he looked a little heavy … they do have similar faces in that picture though. Correction forthcoming …

      • Ron

        Oh great, now my previous comment looks weird.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Oh great, now my previous comment looks weird.

          Just now Ron? What about when it was originally written? 😉

  • bbmoney

    I really think they aren’t done and will add another starter. With Baker almost certainly not being ready to start the year off in the rotation, Garza coming off injury, and the fact that they figure to trade at least one of their starters by the deadline, they still don’t have enough depth at SP, let alone quality depth.

  • Rizzo 44

    Josh Hamilton in CF 4 years at 25M plus 2 club/player option years. I know everyone is going to say no don’t do it. I think its a good move and I will be willing to bet he doesn’t get a better offer than that. Big bat in the middle of the order and he can move to LF if we trade Soriano or when his contract is up. I would much rather have Hamilton than BJ Upton. Hamilton is an MVP yes he is a little older but 4 years is not that bad a deal for him and if he’s still doing well you have to more option years.

    • King Jeff

      If Hamilton would accept a 4 year deal with options, I think he would still be a Ranger. It’s not that we don’t like or want Hamilton, he’s going to cost a lot on the open market, and might not even consider the Cubs. I’m pretty sure most of us would rather have Hamilton than Upton, I just don’t see how his age and contract demands would be a fit for the Cubs.

  • ramon

    I don’t see how guys like Baker and Feldman can be flipped.
    Baker is hurt and most likely will be on a pitch count.
    Feldman is not good enough to get anything back in return.
    They have to both be pitching lights out in order to bring back quality prospects.
    I don’t see that happening. Not too many #4 and #5 starters pitch lights out.

    • Brett

      It’s not like you have to look all that far into the way-back machine to find an example of a 4th/5th starter type coming off an injury who was signed to a one-year deal (plus an option, in his case) for around $5 million and pitched his way into a nice trade. It was Paul Maholm, and it was one year ago.

      • Chris

        I hope Jed/Theo are really that good… But I feel like luck played a large role in being able to get Maholm that cheap, and then being able to move him for Vizcaino.

        • Brett

          Well, of course luck was a big part of it. That’s why you buy as many reasonably-priced lottery tickets as you can. Only so many of them hit, but you’ve got to cash in big when they do.

          (And the smartness comes in knowing which lottery tickets have the best odds of paying off (at the lowest price).)

          • Chris

            Baker and Feldman are Cubs. While not the names I would have hoped for, I’ll put my trust in the FO on these 2. I can’t quantify with statistics, but the Maholm signing just felt like a better move last season. I don’t absolutely hate the Baker signing, but I guess I don’t see Feldman as a rebound candidate. IMO, he’s just not a very good pitcher. I hope I’m wrong, and will rejoice in that fact if he pitches well and brings back another good prospect at the deadline.

      • Kyle

        That’s true, but Maholm had a long history of decentness. I absolutely loved that move and thought we got an epic steal.

        Feldman has 140 innings of peripheral decentness stretched across his last two seasons.

        • ETS

          Baker was legit when healthy.

        • bbmoney

          Feldman has been decent when healthy & starting too. But while he has a history of being decent….he doesn’t have a history of staying healthy and starting. Never pitched more than 190 innings and only 1 season really in the ballpark of that number.

          Like the signing, I mean why not? But I don’t think they’re done with SPs. At least I hope not.

      • Noah

        Beyond that, I’ve seen references to pitch counts and innings limits in relation to Scott Baker a couple of times here now, and I’m not sure people understand how those things work: the team sets whether a player is on a pitch count or innings limit, not the player. While I wouldn’t be surprised if for his first five or six start back the Cubs limit Baker to 80 or 90 pitches per start, it is in both Baker’s and the Cubs’ interests to take any limitations off him as quickly as possible. Baker is planning on using this year to get his big contract to essentially end his career on 12 months from now, so he has to show that he can still be effective and a workhorse. The Cubs want him to show the same thing, so they can flip him mid-season if they are out of it. Ok, more likely when they are out of it, but you get the point.

  • lou brock lives

    Garza will be gone by end of ST if he proves he is healthy. The only games I will pay to see at Wrigley this year will be when Samardzija is pitching. Someone needs to ask the question of Ricketts – what is your budget for the 40 man roster in 2013 ? If it’s less than $ 90 million this guy has some explaining to do to the fans paying the prices they are asking.

  • hardtop

    sorry guys… I’ve seen this before. i’ll call 68 wins right now.
    if these reclamation projects and “fingers-crossed” signings continue into 2014 I’m seriously going to poison Theodore’s banana.

  • hardtop

    oh… now, well.. thats different. that guy looks a hell of a lot better than the other guy. im feeling good about this singing 😉

    thats old school player evaluation right there!

  • Elephanthole

    Wasn’t Feldman the bizarro world Newman in Seinfeld?

    • North Side Irish

      Bizarro Kramer if I remember correctly…Fargas was bizzaro Newman

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  • Mac

    Saw Feldman pitch last yr in KC. Followed him somewhat closely too since I enjoy watching the Rangers. He’s a decent end of the roation guy and can easily go back and forth between the pen and starting. Especially for a spot start if needed. Good pick up in my opinon

  • cubchymyst

    I wonder what this mean for the Lefties in Iowa, Rusin and Raley? My guess is one of them will be moved off the 40 man roster.

  • Derrick

    Please don’t be Chris Voldstad Please don’t be Chris Voldstad. That’s All I can think about with this signing. Kind of a head scratcher to me. I rather have Edwin Jackson for 3yrs/ 36 mil or so versus Baker and Feldman. The Cubs wont be competitive to at least 2015

    • Byron Browne

      In 2015, I don’t think Baker,Feldman, OR Jackson will be with the Cubs.

  • Tim

    Merkle’s Boner…… gotta love it. Who else is watching MLBN?

  • Ed Wiese

    Guys and Ladies of the message board, I will say what I am sure what most of us are thinking. We need another lefty in the rotation to compliment Travis Wood! Can we please teach our pitching staff how to hit the damn ball out of the infield!

    • OlderStyle

      I was thinking that, too. But who is available?

  • King Jeff

    Ahh, Scott Feldman, the bane of BNFL harmony. I don’t think this can be considered coincidence that he signed with the Cubs after causing such a s**t storm in our fantasy league as a virtually uncared-about pitcher. I’m calling it now, Scott Feldman is going to win the NL Cy Young this year.

    • Katie

      I had him on my roster after I pulled him off the scrap heap but I don’t remember there being a doo doo fest. Did I miss something?

      • King Jeff

        When the commish changed the rules so he could bypass the injury list rule for his roster and added Feldman.

    • Spencer

      :) TC talked about this on the first page of the comments this morning. i had forgotten all about it too.

      • King Jeff

        I completely missed that exchange this morning under the avalanche of comments. I was talking with someone about possible Cubs pitchers a few days ago and I wondered why I knew so much about Scott Feldman, then remembered when I heard he signed.

        • MichiganGoat

          Awesome I complete erased his name from memory now ill have remember it again

          • Katie

            I vaguely remember that. I just ran and hid.

        • Spencer

          yeah i hear ya. if i’m not around when a new story goes up i dont even try to sift through all the comments.

  • Carew

    I like this signing, and I’m gonna like every pitcher signing we get if it means we dont see the Randy Wells or the Casey Colemans of the world

  • TY

    I’ll take Feldman/Baker for $11.5M all day long, especially compared to $11M the Yankees just signed Andy P for

  • Loren Feldman

    Guess what……Feldman can hit…isn’t that worth something?