Four years ago, almost to the day, the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles traded right-handed pitchers, with the Cubbies sending Scott Feldman to the O’s in exchange for Jake Arrieta. (There were some other players included, but Feldman and Arrieta were the primary pieces in the trade.)
At the time, Arrieta was 27 years old, a former highly touted prospect who had yet to live up to his promise. Feldman had just turned 30 and had really only had one good season in his career, but he had a 3.46 ERA (with good peripheral numbers) at the time and had started 20-plus games in four of the previous five seasons. With the Orioles in second place and chasing Boston in the American League East race, Feldman seemed like a decent bet to shore up an inconsistent rotation.
Over the next three years, Arrieta became an All-Star, finished in the top ten in Cy Young Award voting three times, and won the award in 2015 when he went 22-6 with a 2.35 ERA, leading the league in complete games and shutouts.
Meanwhile, Feldman went 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA for an Orioles club that finished in third place. A free agent at the end of the year, he signed with the Houston Astros. During his two-and-a-half year stint with the ‘Stros, Feldman started 52 games, pitched in relief in 21 more, and was the very definition of a (very) slightly above league-average pitcher during that time: 18-20, 3.64 ERA, 107 ERA+.
His final season in Houston, 2016, Feldman pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen, and was effective. At last season’s trade deadline, he was dealt to Toronto, where he was a disaster in 16 games (all as a reliever), allowing 14 earned runs in 15 innings pitched.
Before this season, as you know, Feldman signed a free agent contract with the Reds, a one-year deal worth $2.3 million. At the time of the signing, Feldman’s role with the Reds was up in the air. With a group of exciting young pitching prospects on the horizon, that was actually Feldman’s primary value to the Reds: his flexibility in being able to pitch out of the rotation or the bullpen.
… Read the rest over at Cincinnati Magazine, then come back and let me know what you think about my suggestion for what the Reds should do with Feldman.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.