CHICAGO – Right-hander Scott Feldman knew his days with the Cubs likely would be over by the end of the month.
He just wasn’t expecting to get traded so far in advance of the July 31 trade deadline. But when Feldman woke up Tuesday morning, looking forward to his start against Oakland, and turned on his phone, it began ringing almost immediately. Finding out he had be traded to the Orioles set off a whirlwind 36 hours that culminated with his Baltimore debut Wednesday against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
“I was a little surprised it happened this early,” Feldman said. “I knew it was a possibility if I was pitching well. It was out of my control, so I didn’t try to worry about it too much.
“I loved it [in Chicago], but I don’t hold any hard feelings. I think they did what they thought was best.”
The trade provided early dividends for the Orioles as Feldman allowed two runs on six hits in six innings, although he earned a no decision in Baltimore’s 4-2 win. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday the organization had been talking with Baltimore, among other teams, in the days leading up to the trade. Feldman said he had no idea the Cubs had been in trade discussions but was happy to land on a team contending for the playoffs with a clubhouse featuring good chemistry.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” Feldman said of his start against the Sox. “I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I know a lot of these guys from being over in Texas. I’m happy that things have worked out like this.”
Feldman, who will be a free agent again in the offseason, wouldn’t rule out a return to the Cubs. The 30-year-old said he would “absolutely, definitely” consider re-signing with the organization that gave him the opportunity to prove he could be a consistent starter.
“I had a great time with those guys in that clubhouse,” Feldman said. “Everybody was thinking of the same goal of trying to win, and it just didn’t work out in the first half.”
Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was one of the more outspoken players displeased with Feldman’s departure, telling reporters in Oakland that the team doesn’t improve by trading a pitcher of his caliber. Feldman appreciated Samardzija’s comments.
“To be honest, [Samardzija’s] probably the most competitive guy I’ve played with and one of my favorite teammates I’ve played with,” Feldman said. “I feel for him and I know where he’s coming from a little bit. Hopefully, he can keep pitching well, win some games down the stretch and be there when they’re good and competing.”
As a mentor and veteran presence for younger players in the Cubs’ clubhouse, particularly Samardzija and Travis Wood, Feldman will be impossible to replace this season. He believes the Cubs are headed in the right direction and that the front office’s track record of turning around an organization should be trusted.
“I don’t think they think it’s all about losing,” Feldman said. “They have good heads on their shoulders. They’re good people and they want to win. Eventually the time will come for the Cubs to compete more.”
• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at email@example.com. Read the Sox Insider and Inside the Cubs blogs at NWHerald.com and on Twitter @Sox_Insider and @InsideTheCubs.