The Baltimore Orioles, much like they were last season, are centered in trade talks to bolster their starting rotation. Today the Birds and GM Dan Duquette made their move acquiring RHP Scott Feldman and C Steve Clevenger from the Chicago Cubs for RHP Jake Arrieta and RHP Pedro Strop.
First off, many Orioles fans probably noticed who the Birds got rid of before even realizing what they are receiving in return. By shipping Arrieta and Strop, Baltimore has rid itself of two major headaches in its pitching staff. Arrieta is a guy who just never put it all together as he was consistently inconsistent and seemed to lose total confidence on the mound. Strop on the other hand was a major factor in the Orioles success for the first half of last season as he was borderline shutdown in the set-up role, but the second half of last season and this season he has seemed to completely lose his command and struggled to get outs even in wash-up duty.
Now, who are the Orioles getting in return? Clevenger is a left handed hitting catcher who can field his position very respectfully. He is a local product out of Mt. St. Joseph. He has already been optioned to AAA Norfolk Tides and will provide the organization with some catcher depth.
The key piece of the deal, Feldman, is a very solid pitcher who will instantly be injected into the starting rotation. Of his 15 starts on the mound this season, he has recorded nine quality starts. He currently boasts a 3.46 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 25 walks in 91 innings pitched. He also sports a 1.143 WHIP and has done something no Orioles pitcher has done this season, toss a complete game. His history in Camden Yards is also promising as he holds a 3-0 record with a 2.49 ERA in seven games (three starts). Feldman's ERA ranks him second among Orioles starting pitchers (Chen) and his WHIP leads the rotation.
Feldman stated on ESPN XM radio after the trade that the plan is that he will make his Orioles debut tomorrow night in Chicago, which would push Miguel Gonzalez back to Thursday where they Birds had yet to name a starting pitcher. He also stated that he knows what Maryland is all about,
“I know Maryland is known for Crabcakes and Football.”
Baltimore will certainly like hearing that from Feldman, but hopefully with his help the Birds can add baseball to that recipe.
The Birds starting rotation next week will be Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Feldman, which looks more appetizing, especially when you factor in that Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman and Steve Johnson as emergency starters and possible bullpen help.
Baltimore also sent two international bonus slots money to Chicago in the deal that totals around $400,000.
In other news, the Orioles activated Nolan Reimold off the DL today and he will take Strop's spot on the active roster, a corresponding roster move will have to be made tomorrow to make room for Feldman. Either Gausman or Britton will likely be optioned to AAA and the choice will come down to who the Birds feel give them the most upside in the bullpen.
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