The Baltimore Orioles have pushed over the first domino of the July trading season, as they’ve acquired starting pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger from the Cubs in exchange for pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop (via ESPN’s Keith Law). The Cubs will also acquire the Orioles’ third and fourth international bonus slots, which add up to $388,100.
The Orioles showed once again that they’re willing to do what it takes to win, and did so without dipping into the farm system very much at all. But despite hanging onto their prized prospects, the O’s still managed to walk away from this trade with one of the more coveted pitchers on the market in Feldman. Baltimore desperately needed to add a front-end starter, as their rotation has combined for a 4.79 ERA, good for third-worst in the American League.
So far this season, Feldman has posted a 3.46 ERA in 91 innings. Another stat that will be appealing to the Orioles is that Feldman generates 50.1% of his outs via the groundball, something that should play well against the offensive juggernauts of the American League East. “Feldman is a proven starter with postseason experience who should help stabilize our rotation for the second half,” said Orioles general manager Dan Duquette in a statement.
The Orioles also acquire Clevenger, who’s seen minimal action in the big leagues this year. However, the 27-year old has hit .327 at AAA Peoria, and will provide Baltimore with quality catching depth behind Matt Weiters and Taylor Teagarden. It’s a homecoming for Clevenger, who was born in Baltimore on April 5, 1986, and played his high school ball at Mount St. Joseph’s.
The Orioles send off Arrieta and Strop, who both never lived up to their true potentials in Baltimore. Arrieta, now 27, could never make it through the lineup the second time around, while Strop, 28, seemed to melt down every time he entered a pressure situation. Pitching at Wrigley Field in the NL Central should help both pitchers figure it out.
With the trade, the Orioles suddenly boast a strong rotation of Feldman, Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen, and seem pretty set for a dominant second half. Aside from looking into a designated hitter, don’t expect much more out of the rumor mill in Baltimore.