I’m not going to say that Scott Feldman making the Cubs rotation is surprise, I just expected to be writing about it at the end of a very competitive camp, not before it even starts. Patrick Mooney reported today that Dale Sveum has penciled Scott Feldman into the rotation behind “the big three” of Garza, Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson. Yes, barring a step back from Samardzija, a blown apart Garza elbow, and an Edwin Jackson disaster, the Cubs can actually be considered as a team that has a big three at the top of the rotation. At this point, if you look at the top three for the other teams in the Central Division, I like the Cubs. They have three power arms at the top, and now, according to Sveum they have Scott Feldman following them. “Feldman’s going to be one of the starters,” Sveum said Thursday. “There’s an above-average chance Baker’s going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don’t want to really rush him. There’s no need for anything like that.” The words from Sveum today caught me a little off guard because the one word that I think describes this Cubs camp the best is competition, not saying there still won’t be plenty of it, I just expected more of it before naming Feldman to the rotation. As Mooney says in his article, both Feldman and Baker were promised a chance to redeem themselves this year as starters, so one would think that gives them the inside track. Not so fast, if we have learned anything from this Cubs organization since Theo took over is that they are calculated, everything they do has a reason or four behind it. Sveum continued with the comment of “there are no guarantees” in the rotation behind Garza, Samardzija, and Jackson, so what Sveum is saying in my opinion is that Feldman, and Baker for that matter, will be slotted in the rotation but if they give the coaching staff any reason to doubt that they belong there they will be bumped for someone who deserves it. So my final thought on this is expect there to be plenty of competition all Spring long, and don’t be surprised if Feldman doesn’t start the season as a starter, for my money, I think he will, but don’t count out Carlos Villanueva, or Travis Wood quite yet.
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I’m sure like me, all of you have been waiting on pins and needles to see what the next Cubs move or rumor would be coming from this week’s Winter Meetings. Well thanks to Bruce Levine we have it, the Cubs and Ryan Dempster’s agent have discussed a possible return to the Cubs. If you are done laughing I will continue, yes Ryan Dempster, the same Ryan Dempster that was “blindsided” by a trade that would have brought Randall Delgado to the Cubs at last seasons trade deadline, I hope he knows his agent is talking to the Cubs. Given everything that happened last year would you as a fan want Dempster back? If the initial deal last year at the trade deadline went through I’m sure that answer would be a resounding yes, but as it was clear Dempster was going to drag any possible deal right up to the deadline Cubs fans grew tired of his act, and him.
So is this really possible? Yes, it is, in fact the Cubs need pitching depth even with their recent signings of the two Scott’s, Baker and Feldman. The surprise is that it is Dempster, and per Levine the Cubs and Dempster’s agent have discussed money and length of contract but no offer has been made. Up until this evening the Brewers and Royals have shown the most interest in Dempster, with Dempster already turning down a 2 year $26MM offer from the Royals because he wants a third year. The door seems like it’s open for the Cubs to make a play here but Levine cautions that there is a sticking point….wait for it… Levine sees a no-trade as a potential obstacle to Dempster returning to the Cubs. You can’t make this up! Ah Dempster, the lovable jokester, my favorite joke was last year at the deadline, but it seems as though he’s shooting for a new high, or low with this one. More as it comes.
Report of Cubs-Dempster talks grossly misrepresents their nature. Negotiations not happening. Reunion implausible. #courtesy
Wittenmyer says not so fast to Levine’s report, I would tend to side with Gordon on this one.
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Buster Olney is reporting via Twitter today that the Cubs and Scott Feldman are nearing a deal. Buster continues that it would be a one year deal, but nothing is official yet, sounds like it’s very close to being official though. If indeed this signing does happen I really like it. Feldman, who is 29 years old, and Scott Baker were two solid free agent pitchers that aren’t that flashy name that people are exited about but they are quality arms that give teams innings. Feldman has pitched for the Rangers for his entire 8 year Major League career and sports a career ERA of 4.81, not too bad considering where he was pitching. Last year wasn’t the best of years for Feldman as he was 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA, but 2009 is when he really burst onto the scene going 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA. He would be a welcomed addition to this Cubs staff, more as it becomes available.
[UPDATE] Per Patrick Mooney the deal is official, one year deal worth $6 million, nice signing by the Cubs.
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Earlier today the Cubs and RHP Scott Baker agreed to a one year contract with a base salary of $5.5 million and incentives that could reach another $1.5 million. The 31-year starting pitcher did not pitch at all last season due to Tommy-John surgery. Baker, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Twins has a 63-48 record with a 4.15 ERA. In 2011 Baker was having a nice season before suffering elbow problems, posting a 3.14 ERA in only 23 games pitched, 21 of which he started.
This is exactly the type of pitcher and the type of deal the Cubs are looking at right now. The Cubs are obviously hoping Baker can come back strong from surgery and if he does he could at the very least be flipped come trade deadline. If he doesn’t come back as strong as hoped it won’t cost the Cubs much money wise or length of contract wise. The Cubs will still look for at least one more starting pitcher this off-season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they still go after two. All in all I think this a pretty solid deal for the Cubs.
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