scott feldman cubsToday, the Chicago Cubs traded Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop, as well as international bonus money. The Cubs have confirmed the deal, which was originally reported by Keith Law.

Feldman, a free agent after the season, has ostensibly been on the block for a month already thanks to his hot start to the season and the Cubs’ obvious seller mode. With Feldman due to start tonight in Oakland, the Cubs – or the Orioles – decided they didn’t want to wait until after that start to make a move.

There were indications that something was going to happen today with Clevenger, but a big move involving Feldman wasn’t exactly on the docket.

The Cubs’ return in this deal is interesting, and will be subject to extensive analysis in the coming days. In a weak starting pitching market, and with a month to go before the deadline, you would have expected the return on Feldman to be quite solid. Then again, with Feldman a mere rental who is having success as a starter for the first time in a couple years, I could understand the demand being less than Cubs fans might hope.

Although each player will be discussed at greater length soon, here’s your quick take on Arrieta and Strop:

Arrieta, 27, is one of those obviously talented pitchers who has never been able to fully put it together in the big leagues. The Orioles have been dangling him a lot this rumor season (so much so that I started writing a post on him before abandoning it in favor of less speculative endeavors – shame on me), and I think a number of teams were interested in the potential. Despite the poor baseball card numbers in 2012, his FIP was 4.05 and his xFIP was 3.65. I hate to use the old trope, but get him out of the AL East, and see what happens.

Strop, 28, is a reliever who, until this year, had been having great success with the Orioles. His walks have gotten out of control this year (as have the home runs), but the stuff is apparently quite good.

Each of Arrieta and Strop projects to be arbitration eligible for the first time next year, so there’s a whole lot of team control available in this deal. The question is whether each pitcher will reverse course enough for that team control to matter. If they do – if Strop becomes 2012 Strop, and Arrieta becomes the guy scouts say he can be – this is a steal for the Cubs. If not, the Cubs gambled and lost. But that’s what these deals always amount to anyway, right?

And, hey, who knows? Maybe each guy pitches well over the next month and … I’m just sayin’.

As for the bonus money, given the Cubs’ signings already today (and Eloy Jimenez expected), you can understand why it was important for the Cubs to secure that money in short order. The bonus slots being sent to the Cubs are number three and four for the Orioles, which total just under $400,000. As I discussed previously, I’m just not sure how valuable that pool space really is, relative to prospect acquisition. I’m not saying it isn’t good to get the pool money when you can, however.

In the aggregate, this looks like a deal for the long-term future (pool money) and the near-term future (big league arms under team control). A singular top 100 prospect probably would have made me a little happier today, but that doesn’t mean I’m right or that a top 100 prospect was ever going to even be possible.

The Cubs get to do what they want internationally now, and they get a couple upside pitchers with big league experience and team control – that really isn’t too bad when you think about it.

  • oswego chris

    Holy Sh#@! Off the site for a few hours and all hell breaks lose…I was just looking at Arrieta this morning and thinking he might come back in a Garza deal….like this

  • Arrieta’sUncle

    As a 26 year Cubs fan and reader of BN for over a year I am making my first post! Super stoked to see nephew join the Cubs! Just hope he is not flipped to Pads. Good luck Jake!!

    • TonyP

      You’re younger than your Nephew…….

      • On The Farm

        Its not impossible I know siblings that are 22 years apart from my hometown..

      • AnonEMoose`

        Uhhh…Tony P.. you misread the post. He said he was a 26 year Cubs fan… not a 26 year-old Cubs fan…

        Just sayin…

    • Brett

      Welcome, and congrats to the nephew.

      • Arrieta’sUncle

        Thanks Brett. Absolutely love your site. I am addicted to BN.

        • DarthHater

          Tell your nephew not to take three days to report to Iowa.

          • Arrieta’sUncle

            Promise Jake has no “Stewart” tendencies. Good kid and he will do all he can to contribute. Have enjoyed reading your posts. You make me laugh on a regular basis (not in a derogatory way).

  • oswego chris

    Just read Baseball Prospectus regarding Arrieta…they were extremely high on him coming into 2013…love, love love this deal..

  • Arrieta’sUncle

    26 year fan not years old

    • TonyP

      my bad read it wrong…..

      • On The Farm

        and now I see this post.

  • crush012

    “@JonHeymanCBS: #padres tried for arrieta but it sounds like #cubs want to hold onto him. he has a great arm & potential. cant blame em.”

  • jim

    2015! So funny 😉

  • cubfanincardinalland

    His last two starts for Norfolk, he was outstanding. Last start on Thursday, seven shutout innnings, 1 hit(no hitter into the sixth), 10 k’s. Change of scenery might just be what this young man needs to jump start his major league career.

  • DB

    Not a fan of this deal. I understand why the bonus money is important to the Cubs but I wish the Cubs could have gotten 1 good prospect from the Orioles.

    • nkniacc13

      with team control for I believe 3 years with both pitchers they have the chance to turn them around and then move them. We already know SD called and wanted Arretia so whos to say that they cant get something in the next couple years for either of them

  • DarthHater

    So, Rusin’s back in the starting rotation and the Cubs begin the long, slow second-half death march to another #2 draft pick…

    • nkniacc13

      I think he maybe in the rotation for tonight only

      • DarthHater

        Nothing personal against the guy, but I hope you’re right.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Is Arieta going eventually take Feldman’s spot in the rotation? Or are we going to send him to Iowa to refine his stuff?

      • DarthHater

        I thought I read that they already assigned him to Iowa. The questions is: for how long.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          I’m happy with optioning Arieta to Iowa. He needs to learn and refine his stuff

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I got no problem putting Rusin in the rotation. I want that #2 pick in the draft next year. If were going to suck I want to be one of the worst, so we can get one of the highest draft picks, and high draft bonus pools.

      • andoalex

        Hopefully some time with Derek Johnson trying to work on his approach and then winter ball to help refine everything makes him ready to contribute to the rotation next year. No need to call him up this year.

    • JJ

      Why sell the Cubs short? #1 is within reach with some effort.

  • R.E.S

    Wasn’t Strop really good in the world games?

  • Cubsleeram

    An excerpt from Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs:

    “The Cubs, though, have to be thrilled with how this worked out. For the $3 million of Feldman’s 2013 salary that they ended up paying out, they got a half season of quality pitching, then turned that into an interesting young pitching prospect and nearly $400,000 in cash that they can use to sign a premium 16-year-old that could turn into a future franchise player. They bought a couple of lottery tickets who may never pan out, but turning a mid-level free agent into this kind of upside in just a few months time is how good organizations get rebuilt. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and the rest of their front office are doing things the right way.”

    • DarthHater

      FanGraphs is full of koolaid-drinkers. 😉

  • Joe

    Jake Arrieta ‏@JArrieta34 1h
    I’ve been a fan of the @Cubs since Chet Stedman was a workhorse. Thankful for the opportunity.. I’m ready

    The guy is pretty funny at least!

  • Rebuilding

    Surprised to see anyone upset by the return for Feldman. He is a career 4.45 xFIP pitcher who has a .255 BABIP this year making his numbers look better. I think he did a nice job for us, made himself a lot of money on his next contract and is a nice addition as a 4/5 for Baltimore.

    I’m pleasantly surprised that we bought low on two guys who have shown flashes of being impact players as opposed to getting a solid, but unspectacular prospect. We were not getting anything near an impact prospect for Feldman.

    Arrieta has always had the stuff and has pitched several spectacular games for the O’s over the last few years…and then usually followed them with a clunker. That is either mechanics or mental. If you have even the slightest hope you can help him figure it out then you have a guy who was an Opening Day starter 2 years in a row.

    Strop had a 2.5 WAR as a reliever last year. He was simply overused. I would expect him to be an important piece of our bullpen next year.

    This was a trade that made sense for both teams. Like I said, if all that happens is that Steop is a useful setup guy next year it’s worth 3 months of Scott Feldman

    • Kyle

      Let’s put it this way:


      Feldman 2012-13: 3.5
      Jake Arrietta+Pedro Strop entire career: 3.6

      • Rebuilding

        Or put it this way:

        Scott Feldman: 4/5 swing starter, 3 months of control

        Jake Arrieta: former Opening Day starter, Potential 2/3 starter, 3 years of control
        Pedro Strop: best setup man in baseball last year, 5 years of control

        It’s Scott Feldman, Kyle. He will quickly fall back to earth with the Orioles. Hell, two months ago there was real talk of him going to the bullpen. We were not getting an impact prospect for him

        • YourResidentJag

          We were not getting an impact prospect for him. While that may be true, neither of the guys we’ve obtained are prospects.

          • Rebuilding

            Strop is a converted SS with limited innings on his arm who was an integral part of the amazing Orioles pen last year. Arrieta has thrown some absolutely dominating starts the last few years surrounded by a lot of bad ones. But there is something there if it can be harnessed. Both guys have more potential than any prospect we could have gotten for Feldman

            • YourResidentJag

              I’m on the fence with that one. Maybe it’s just I’m not feeling it with Stroop and Arietta and two other MLB ready guys with upside would have intrigued me more. According to Orioles fans, Stroop lost command and can’t seem to find the plate. We got that in Rodriguez and for not much at all in return. Arietta seems more like a reliever type. Dave Cameron likens him to Wade Davis. Probably better used as a reliever since what is true that you’ve said is only kind of true. The dominance seems to come early in games followed by a sort of hitting the wall after 3-5 innings. Again, kind of on the fence with these two. But yeah you’re right in that a top prospect for Feldman wasn’t coming back to us.

      • bbmoney

        That’s not a particularly relevant way to analyze any trade.

    • Rebuilding

      One other thing that has been mentioned by others – Arrieta is a guy supposedly liked by several of our potential trading partners. If getting him makes someone add in another upside prospect or a better one than would have for Garza then that alone is worth it for Feldman

  • Tom A.

    But Feldman was with Cubs another 13 weeks and not 2 seasons


    Who and what the Cubs get is a nonevent. The CUbs at this juncture is just spinning the tires while decreasing payroll. The Cubs Hire players at 5 million a pop and then trade them at mid season for raw players . This ensure the Cubs of having a worst second half and a better draft picks comes at the end of the year.

    Maybe for some this a desire way of rebuilding . Its losing that is all. its sad

    • Cyranojoe

      How would you rebuild? What resources would you use, aside from spending money on the AWESURM free agents that are just out there in the wings, crawling around desperate to join the Cubs? You know, Babe Ruth and his twin? All those awwwwwesome FAs?

  • PR Cajun

    I remember early in the year when Feldman was struggling mightily. I went to his first start vs the Braves in April and many of us were calling for him to be sent to the bullpen then. He had a good turnaround and the front office has to strike while the iron is hot. This move is good for Feldman and good for us. Rapid reward for Feldman and the Orioles, potential long-term reward for the Cubs.

    • Arrieta’sUncle


      • PR Cajun

        Best of luck to your nephew. Hope we can see him as a contributor at Wrigley soon.

  • Turn Two

    This move signifies something. We did not trade for a top 100 guy who will be ready in two years. We traded for a rebuilding 27 year old stud…granted until the arm problem…who could be immediate and long term plan. Looks like 2014 is the setup for what could be sustained success in 2015. Arrieta is a now prospect bought low…half a year of Feldman.

  • Die hard

    To make sense out of these moves the Cubs need to promote Coleman and others like him who paid their dues

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The only dues that Coleman helps pay are very expensive condominium association dues that other batters find a little easier to pay after bloating their stats against Coleman’s pitches….

      • Drew7

        No shit.

        “I’m OK with these moves as long as a group of sub replacement-level fodder gets to come be terrible in Chicago instead of Iowa.”

        I know it’s a stretch, but maybe, just maybe, those guys…well… aren’t good.

        • Die hard

          If ur right how does GM McLeod sound?

      • Die hard

        Hardest part of twisting into a pretzel is mustarding enough strength to retrace your steps… Good luck

  • Reality Check

    so the dealing begins in year 2 of the losing on purpose; er rebuild. arrieta at 27 appears to be a power arm that may be best in the pen; who knows even as a closer; not a starter. strop at 28, 2 yrs younger than marmol; looks like a marmol; with a lot less prior success and eerily similar to henry Rodriquez or Eduardo sanchez; both players found off the scrap heap. not really seeing anything here that will help in 2016; also known as the best hope for a 85 win cubs team, maybe.
    considering maholm and reed got traded for angel guzman, er Vizcaino; and Demp went for Hendricks; at best a 5th starter or perhaps the new combo man like Mustache Villeneuva and the other Villeneuva we got is buried behind castro, baez, lake and hopefully Bryant at 3rd plus barney, devoss, alcantara at 2nd………not sure any of the vets we traded are getting us help come 2016. Vizcaino may be the best bet and he can’t stay healthy and he too may be a power pen arm.
    So, patience we shall be, while the largest market rebuild continues……….as does the 105 yrs and counting…………

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