Chicago Cubs: Scott Feldman A Smart, Predictable Addition

By Randy Holt

The Chicago Cubs continue to proceed through these winter months exactly as everyone had anticipated.

An offseason that began with the signing of Scott Baker, followed by the unspectacular signing of Dioner Navarro, has continued with the signing of Scott Feldman to a one-year, $6 million contract. Like Baker, Feldman fits the mold of what this team is looking for perfectly, but could actually end up having a bit more value for the Cubs in the long-term.

Feldman’s numbers the past few seasons haven’t been too impressive, particularly his 2012 campaign. He labored through it, finishing with a 5.09 ERA. But looking only at that number with be doing a disservice to Feldman, who could actually be a very nice addition for the Cubs.

Over the course of his career, Feldman’s peripherals have remained pretty solid. His FIP was actually a very solid 3.81 last season. He was also a very unlucky pitcher, with hitters against Feldman taking home a .318 BABIP. Those numbers actually sound familiar to Ryan Dempster, who went into the 2012 season with poor overall numbers in 2011, but solid peripherals and a lack of luck.

The fact that he has posted those nice peripherals in a hitter’s paradise like the Ballpark in Arlington speaks volumes about how capable a pitcher he actually is. He has good command, walking barely over two batters per nine last season, and can keep the ball on the ground.

Aside from the numbers, Feldman is also a versatile guy. He can pitch at the back of the rotation but also come out of the bullpen. However, the Cubs view him as a starter which was obviously one of the reasons that this was an easy agreement to come to, as Feldman coveted an opportunity to start.

Unlike Baker, who figures to be trade bait by July, Feldman could actually be a guy that the Cubs look at keeping around beyond 2013. His arm doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear, and the Cubs probably like what he brings to the hill, both stuff-wise and in regard to his versatility.

If Feldman goes out and continues to keep the ball on the ground and the ball around the strike zone like we’ve seen him do in Texas in his career, he should put up some pretty nice numbers with the Cubs this season. And if that happens, we could see a guy who could be a steady part of this rotation for the next few years in Scott Feldman.

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