Not yet December, the Cubs already have addressed their No. 1 priority heading into the offseason.
The Cubs signed right-handed pitcher Scott Feldman to a one-year deal Tuesday with the expectation that he will join the rotation. Feldman, who spent the past eight years with the Texas Rangers, is the second pitcher to sign a one-year contract with the Cubs after the addition of right-hander Scott Baker.
Feldman reportedly will earn $6 million in 2013 with $1 million in incentives.
“We’ve always liked his stuff,” general manager Jed Hoyer said of Feldman. “He’s a guy that gets ground balls. He’s got a really good walk-to-strikeout ratio and he’s pitched in a very difficult environment. He pitched in the American League, pitched in Texas, and that’s hard. We felt given his stuff, given his age and given the ability to come to the National League and not pitch in Texas, we felt it was a great opportunity for us to add a quality arm.”
Hoyer and the Cubs said they needed to add at least two starting pitchers during the offseason. With Baker and Feldman in the fold, the two right-handers join a rotation that is projected to include Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. Hoyer said the Cubs will continue to look for talent, even if that includes signing another starting pitcher. If the Cubs keep the rotation as is, Hoyer expects Feldman, along with Baker, to provide quality innings.
“In the end, the Cubs were like a dream scenario for me getting to play for an organization with that kind of history in a city in Chicago with great fans,” Feldman said. “I think it’s going to be a good situation.”
Hoyer didn’t rule out giving a free agent a multiyear deal but noted it had to be the right player and opportunity for the Cubs.
“Two of the main guys we targeted going into the winter were Baker and Feldman,” Hoyer said. “We felt like both guys were very similar in that we felt like both could benefit by coming to the National League. We thought they both have some upside left. They’re both still young, so they’re the two guys we really focused on one-year deals.”
It’s encouraging for the Cubs that they’ve been able to sign free agents to team-friendly deals despite coming off a 101-loss season. While they haven’t inked any big-name players, the Cubs have proven they are willing and able to sign free agents who not only have potential but are willing to sacrifice multi-year deals elsewhere.
And even though the Cubs unloaded quality talent with expiring contracts at the trade deadline, Feldman said that didn’t cause him to hesitate to sign with the Cubs.
“That is something that’s out of my control, and I hope that I can pitch here this year and do well and stay here for a long time,” Feldman said. “They’re going to do what’s best for the team, not only this year but the long term. I’m just glad I’m here and consider myself lucky to be a part of this organization.”