Are you fed up with Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop? Apparently, so is Dan Duquette. ESPN's Keith Law was the first to report that the Orioles have traded Arrieta and Strop, along with money in their international signing bonus pool, to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger.
Feldman, a 6'6" right-handed starter, is one of the many pitchers that I did not want the Orioles to trade for, because my default mode on starters is that I do not want to pay what teams are asking for them, and they will probably end up being terrible. This was not the case with Joe Saunders last season. If I am good at any one thing, it's being wrong.
Feldman is 30, on a one-year contract, and has had one season before this one where he pitched the whole year and was remotely average. Surprise, he signed with a National League team and pitched better, to the tune of a 3.46 ERA, following a 4.81 ERA in eight years with Texas. The O's would like you to know he'll be the third Hawaiian-born player in team history. The first was Lenn Sakata. Aloha, hon.
In a serious contrast to the rest of the Orioles rotation, Feldman has a tendency to be a ground ball pitcher, getting over 50% ground balls through 91 innings this season, with a 46.9% rate for his career. He is averaging just over six innings per start and last pitched on June 26. He was scheduled to start tonight's game in Oakland for the Cubs, though he won't make it to join the team until Wednesday or Thursday. He could start Thursday's game, as Orioles reporters indicated Wei-Yin Chen will be getting another rehab start.
Clevenger looks to be little more than a throw-in with local ties. A former product of Mount St. Joseph's in Baltimore, Clevenger was a 7th round pick of the Cubs in 2006. He spent some time on the Cubs last season and batted .201/.260/.276 in 69 games. He caught for 412.2 innings of those games, throwing out only 7 of 52 base-stealers. Just for a comparison, Matt Wieters has caught 615.1 innings this season and only 30 runners have tried to steal at all.
Clevenger was just recently activated from the 60-day disabled list and has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Arrieta and Strop have sufficiently proven their uselessness this season in what looked to be, and has proven to be, their final chances in Orioles uniforms. Arrieta walked 17 batters in 23.2 innings, with Strop walking 15 batters in 22.1 innings. You know the story: great stuff, can't put it together. Arrieta is 27. Strop is 28. If either one finally figures things out, I will be happy for them, and I will feel confident that the Orioles will not have to be burned by them. Arrieta, in particular, had used up all of his chances in Baltimore. He was given many chances to fail, and he availed himself of all of them.
Arrieta departs the Orioles having pitched in 69 games, 63 starts, with 358 innings pitched. He walked 159 batters and gave up 48 home runs. His ERA has gotten worse every year.
We might have hoped that Strop could still be salvaged as a useful reliever for the Orioles, but the nature of his options having run out meant that he could not be sent to the minors without being exposed on waivers. This way, he brings back something potentially useful, because there is little chance he would have been useful in the Orioles bullpen this season.
The fact that Arrieta and Strop, combined with what the Orioles press release terms "International Bonus Slots 3 and 4", are worth Feldman, is okay with me. If Feldman isn't what the Orioles want, they've given up nothing of value. If he turns into this year's Saunders, the trade was well worth it. Ken Rosenthal of Fox reports that money is worth about $380,000.
Additionally, Nolan Reimold has been activated from the disabled list. This was an afterthought in the Orioles press release announcing the trade, so it is also an afterthought in this post. Reimold will take Strop's roster spot tonight, and another move will have to be made when Feldman officially joins the team in the next couple of days.