Cubs send Scott Feldman to Orioles; finalize Carlos Marmol deal
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Twitter: @GDubCub July 2, 2013 1:41PM
Pitcher Scott Feldman
Updated: July 2, 2013 4:41PM
OAKLAND, Calif. – If there was any doubt that they would be the most aggressive sellers heading into July, the Cubs eliminated it when they sent the first swing of the wrecking ball crashing through the roster Tuesday.
Four wins in five games and three consecutive series victories wasn’t about to slow a process that was inevitable as soon as the Cubs got off to a slow start in April.
On Tuesday – before the Cubs reached the halfway mark in the season – the Cubs completed three trades, including one that sent pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger to the Baltimore Orioles for hard-throwing right-handers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop.
“It’s not often you consummate three trades in one day,” general manager Jed Hoyer said, “[much less] in an hour or so.”
Much less four weeks before the annual flurry at the July 31 deadline.
The Cubs also finalized the Carlos Marmol deal on Tuesday, sending the embattled reliever to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Matt Guerrier and salary relief.
By the time all the details of the Marmol deal play out, in relation to the 2013 and ’14 payrolls, a source said the Cubs will have received about $1 million in relief from the $4.9 million left on Marmol’s contract.
More moves are coming to the Cubs bullpen Wednesday when Guerrier and Strop report, Hoyer said.
The Cubs also received two of Baltimore’s assigned international signing “slots” in the deal, along with the bonus allotment assigned to the slots, and included one of their own slots/money in the Marmol deal.
In third deal, the Cubs sent minor-league infielder Ronald Torreyes to Houston for two of the Astros’ international slots.
Hoyer said the Cubs netted $963,000 in additional money allowed to spend on an international class the club considers deep, with several impact players it covets.
Hoyer said the Cubs are ready to make more trades, even in the first half of the month but wouldn’t predict the likelihood.
What’s certain is that Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg and perhaps three or four more guys on the big-league roster will be gone by the end of the month – regardless of how well guys in the clubhouse think they’re playing.
“Our job is to build a great organization. Their job is to play hard every single night and look for wins,” Hoyer said. “As far as the message [the front office is sending], unfortunately, we’re 10 games under .500 and have three teams in our division with the three best records in the National League or close to it. I think realistically our chance of playing in October is very small and we need to add a lot of talent to get better in the future.”
Given some of the tight division races in baseball – and the significant advantage to avoiding the elimination wild-card game in the new playoff format – Hoyer considers it a seller’s market this month, he said.
At least as significant as the player haul in the trades is the international signing money. The signing period began Tuesday – with the Cubs already reportedly signing two of the top-rated prospects.
“We really like some of the impact talent in this year’s international class. We feel there’s both depth and premium guys,” Hoyer said. “the addition of dollars can help us be aggressive in this market.”
Hoyer didn’t shoot down reports the Cubs have signed Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres, one of the top-ranked international prospects, on a $1.7-million deal, and Dominican right-hander Jefferson Mejia to an $850,000 deal.
The added cap room could mean a strong run at 16-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the top prospect in the Dominican this year.
Arrieta, 27, was one of the Orioles top prospects as he rose to the majors. He’s 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA in 69 games (63 starts) in the big leagues and will start his Cubs career at AAA Iowa.
Strop, 28, is a power-pitching reliever with both high strikeout and walk rates. He was 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 70 games as a key part of Baltimore’s playoff bullpen last year but has struggled (0-3, 7.25) this season.
Left-hander Chris Rusin has been brought up from AAA Iowa to take Feldman’s start Tuesday night in Oakland. Feldman was 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA for the Cubs since signing a one-year, $6 million deal that likely will reach $7 million with incentive clauses.
Outfielder Dave Sappelt also is being promoted from AAA Tuesday, replacing injured outfielder Ryan Sweeney (ribs), who is going on the 60-day DL, creating a 40-man roster spot.