This week, the Baltimore Orioles got an early start on the trade deadline period and did not wait until late July to make a deal.
Despite their 48-37 record as of this morning, the Orioles - as most know - have a need for starting pitching, like most teams. They rank 29th in the majors with a 4.41 ERA and obviously if the Orioles want to make a run for the postseason, the pitching situation must improve.
The Orioles got some much-needed pitching help as they acquired right-hander Scott Feldman from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for pitchers Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop and international bonus money. They also received catcher and Baltimore native Steve Clevenger in the deal.
The struggles of Arrieta and Strop have been well-documented.
Arrieta was a starter who flamed out in Baltimore after umpteen opportunities. He could never be a consistent pitcher. Meanwhile, Strop, who played a huge role in the bullpen in 2012, never found his form again in 2013. Both pitchers may do better with the rebuilding Chicago Cubs and without the pressure of a pennant race.
As for Feldman, he was on a team that is probably going to struggle for the next few seasons. He is set to be a free agent after the season, and inevitably was going to be dealt in one way or another.
The number of top-flight starters that will be available out on the market in the next few weeks may be slim based on how all the divisions in the majors are playing out.
Therefore, the Orioles had to make a move to bolster their rotation sooner or later.
Feldman, 30, is a pitcher that the Orioles tried to sign in the offseason. This year with the Cubs, he was 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA and was having a good season.
His overall career record is 46-50 with a 4.65 ERA. His career has been an up-and-down one as he won 17 games with the Rangers in 2009, but struggled for the next three seasons - with injury plus poor performances - and Texas let him go.
As we know, the Orioles have done quite well with dealing for former Rangers as slugging first baseman Chris Davis and starter-turned-reliever Tommy Hunter are playing huge roles with the team.
Also, Orioles manager Buck Showalter knew Feldman very well from his days with Texas.
The Feldman deal looked like another prototypical Dan Duquette move - he acquired a solid, but not flashy player who would fit into the team’s needs.
On Wednesday night, Feldman went six strong innings against the Chicago White Sox and did not earn a decision.
All Feldman needs to do is to go as deep as he can into games, give them quality starts and preserve the bullpen. I’m sure fans are looking forward to the possibilities if southpaw Wei-Yin Chen returns and if Chris Tillman along with Miguel Gonzalez can keep pitching to their ability.
Feldman is a solid pitcher. but not an ace. However, combined with the other starters and a strong offense, he can keep the Orioles in the playoff hunt and beyond.
In the weeks and months ahead, it will be all about the pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.
We’ll be awaiting the next move that Duquette and the front office make.
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O’s appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.