Orioles get Feldman in trade with Cubs
Baltimore also adds catcher Clevenger in return for right-handers Strop, Arrieta
CHICAGO -- Seeking to bolster an inconsistent starting rotation, the Orioles acquired right-handed pitcher Scott Feldman from the Cubs on Tuesday in a trade that sent right-handed pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to Chicago, along with $338,100 in international signing slot bonuses.
The O's also got catcher -- and Baltimore native -- Steve Clevenger and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
Feldman, who was 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA for the Cubs and was scheduled to start for Chicago on Tuesday night in Oakland, told MLB Network Radio he will make his Orioles debut on Wednesday night. Baltimore, which owns a 4.79 starters ERA, opens a three-game series against the White Sox on Tuesday.
"He's a proven veteran starting pitcher, and he should help stabilize our rotation in the second half of the season," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of the 30-year-old Feldman, who has pitched 91 innings over 15 starts this season.
Over his nine years in the Majors, Feldman owns a 46-50 record and a 4.66 ERA. Before signing with the Cubs last winter, Feldman had spent his entire career -- including a 17-8 campaign in 2009 -- with the Rangers, where he pitched under current Orioles skipper Buck Showalter. His seven wins were a club-high on the Cubs.
The acquisition of Feldman gives the Orioles an experienced arm in the rotation, with Feldman appearing in the postseason with Texas in 2011. The trade, coupled with the pending activation of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen -- who will make one more rehab start -- had Duquette feeling pretty good about where the organization was prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline.
"We are going to be able to make another addition to our rotation hopefully in another week when Chen rejoins the club, so I think at this stage, let's see what Feldman and Chen do for us," Duquette said.
Feldman's arrival will change the Orioles' rotation in Chicago, but it wasn't immediately clear if Wednesday's original starter, Miguel Gonzalez, would simply be pushed back.
The organization's willingness to part with Arrieta isn't surprising -- it had been rumored for weeks -- but it is potentially risky given the 27-year-old's talent and makeup.
"It was something that needed to happen for the Orioles to continue to make their push, and they felt like it was the right time," Arrieta said. "So that's just kind of the way it goes.
"I knew it was something that was getting closer to be done. I wasn't sure where I was going to end up, but I felt like it was kind of inevitable at this point. It's kind of sad to leave an organization I've been with since I was drafted. A lot of special moments and great relationships that I've formed when I was with the Orioles, and that's what I'll miss the most. But there's opportunity for me in Chicago, and I'm going to try to make the most of it."
"He's always been with the Orioles organization," Duquette said of Arrieta, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. "Sometimes change is beneficial. I can tell you, from a team perspective, we were looking to bolster our rotation, and Feldman has pitched in the playoffs and is having a good year this year."
Arrieta won the final rotation spot out of Spring Training, but couldn't translate that success, going 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA in five starts. Showing flashes of dominance, Arrieta has gone 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts) over four seasons with the Orioles, and he was with Norfolk when the trade news broke.
"I wouldn't say [it's] a completely fresh start," Arrieta said. "But I've learned a lot and continue to grow as a player and a person. My numbers haven't been what everybody expected, what I expected, but there's so much room for me to grow, and I know that's what Chicago wants from me. They want me to have an opportunity and be able to continue to progress and reach my potential."
Arrieta, once seen as part of several young and promising Orioles pitchers dubbed "The Calvary," was a 10-game winner in 2011 and went 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA in his rookie campaign in '09. His fastball reaches the upper 90s and his arsenal had generated a lot of interest from opposing organizations.
Arrieta said he will take "a lot" of Baltimore with him as he awaited word as to whether he would join the Cubs in Oakland or their Triple-A Iowa team.
"The people and the support that I received, over the course of my career from the Orioles, is something I'll never forget," Arrieta said. "Baltimore will always be special to me. I loved the city and I enjoyed my time there. It's sad leaving the organization, but it's just the time to move on and start this new chapter of my career."
Strop will also get an opportunity to turn things around with Chicago. The 28-year-old is 0-3 with a 7.25 ERA in 29 games this season and has struggled to recapture the form that made him a dominant setup man for the first half of 2012.
"I don't want to leave a great team, a great coach, great teammates, But that's how it is. It's a business," said Strop, went 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA and three saves last season. "It was frustrating knowing you can do better than what you are doing. Lately I was feeling better with my rhythm and everything, I was starting to put some things together, even if the results don't always show it. But I was feeling pretty good. I just got to keep going.
"We had a lot of good times. And I'd like to say thank you for the opportunity. You never know, I might come back later in my career. Who knows? I really enjoyed my time in Baltimore, liked the city and everything. Everything, the coaches, teammates, everything was good. I just got to stick with it and go to Chicago now."
The 27-year-old Clevenger has posted a .327/.426/.596 batting line in 15 games for Iowa and went 1-for-8 in eight games with the Cubs this season.
The slot bonuses included in the deal could help the Cubs afford No. 1 international prospect Eloy Jimenez, a 16-year-old outfielder who has been connected to the club.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.