(MCT) — CHICAGO — The framework of the Cubs’ starting rotation has been completed. Still to be determined is if the rotation as it stands is a finished product with the additions of free agents Scott Feldman and Scott Baker.
“We felt like we had to add at least two parts to the starting rotation this winter, and we’ve done that,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “We’re going to continue looking for talent. If there’s talent we can add to the starting rotation, we could always add another starter.”
Feldman, who signed a one-year, $6-million deal after the Rangers declined his option for 2013, selected the Cubs over a few other teams because he was guaranteed a spot in the rotation. He joins Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Baker to form the likely opening day rotation, although Garza and Baker both will be completing recoveries from elbow injuries in spring training.
Feldman helped the Rangers get to the World Series twice but was frustrated others were given postseason starts while he battled a knee injury late in 2010 and was used in long relief in ‘11. He was bypassed for starts last season when the Rangers added Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster.
“In my mind the Cubs are like a dream scenario for me,” said Feldman, whose deal includes $1 million in incentives. “I’m getting to play with an organization that has that history, in a city like Chicago, with those fans.”
Feldman was 17-8 with a 4.08 earned-run average in 2009 had a 5.09 earned run average over 123 2/3 innings last year, making 21 starts and eight relief appearances. The Cubs hope he will benefit from a move to the National League as well as the security of knowing he’s going to start.
“Since (2009), it was kind of like he had one foot in (the rotation) and one foot out, looking over his shoulder a little bit,” Hoyer said. “We certainly gave him assurances, you come in here, you’re going to be in the rotation. Having that (role), you will see guys settle in a little. It is hard to perform when you’re always worried about the security of your job if you don’t perform.”
Feldman said he believes he’s a better pitcher than he was in his 17-win season and Hoyer called him “one of the most unlucky pitchers in the game last year,” pointing to metrics suggesting he was a victim of both bad luck and bad play in his starts, in which the Rangers were 7-14.
Hoyer said the Cubs continue to negotiate with third baseman Ian Stewart, who has recovered from surgery on his left wrist enough to start hitting off a tee, with Friday’s deadline to offer arbitration hanging over them. They have been reported to have interest in 32-year-old infielder Jeff Keppinger, who could platoon at third with Luis Valbuena if they do not re-sign Stewart.
One player not on the Cubs’ board is Marlins’ right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, as Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman that Stanton will not be traded.