Feldman goes to O's for Arrieta, Strop
Cubs get two international signing bonus slots in deal with Astros
OAKLAND -- The Cubs kicked off the trading season on Tuesday, dealing pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger to the Orioles for right-handed pitchers Jake Arrietta and Pedro Strop plus two international signing bonus slots.
It was one of three deals the Cubs completed in a few minutes. They also acquired the Astros' No. 2 and 3 international signing bonus slots for Minor League infielder Ronald Torreyes, and dealt Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers.
With the three moves, the Cubs added $963,000 in international slot money, and upped their total pool to $5,520,300. The Cubs were believed to be the front-runner for No. 1 international prospect Eloy Jimenez.
"This is an international class that our scouts really like, and we felt it was very deep," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "The addition of dollars can help us be aggressive in this international market."
Feldman (7-6, 3.46 ERA), who has been one of the Cubs' most consistent starters, was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Athletics, but lefty Chris Rusin will get the assignment instead.
When the Cubs signed Feldman, the right-hander was focused on getting a spot in the rotation.
"I give him credit," Hoyer said of Feldman, who had bounced from the rotation and the bullpen while with the Rangers. "He made a big bet on himself. He wanted a one-year deal, and I give him a lot of credit. He believed in himself and it shows. The fact that he had a contender in the American League actively seeking him shows he made the right bet."
Feldman most likely won't be the only starter to be dealt before the July 31 Trade Deadline. There also has been interest in right-hander Matt Garza, scheduled to start Wednesday.
Clevenger made the Cubs' Opening Day roster but has struggled with a strained left oblique, and he was with Triple-A Iowa. A Baltimore native, the catcher was thrilled at the news, according to his agent, Joshua Kusnick, who tweeted: "Clevenger is an oriole done deal home coming!"
The Cubs will get $388,100 from the O's in international slot money, which may help them sign Jimenez.
Arrieta will be assigned to Iowa, while Strop was expected to report to the Cubs later this week.
Arrieta, 27, was 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA in 69 Major League appearances, all but six as a starting pitcher, in all or part of the last four seasons with the Orioles. He was a member of Baltimore's 2013 Opening Day roster and has had three stints with the big league club this season, going 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA in five starts.
"It was frustrating knowing you can do better than what you are doing," Arrieta said. "Lately, I was feeling better with my rhythm and everything, I was starting to put some things together, even if the results don't always show it. But I was feeling pretty good. I just got to keep going."
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Arrieta may benefit from a change in scenery.
"I can tell you, from a team perspective, we were looking to bolster our rotation, and Feldman has pitched in the playoffs and is having a good year this year," Duquette said.
Strop, 28, last season served as one of Baltimore's primary setup men, going 5-2 with three saves, 24 holds and a 2.44 ERA in 70 relief appearances, all single-season career bests.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Strop made his major league debut with the Rangers in 2009 and split three seasons between the Majors and Minors before being traded to Baltimore near the end of the 2011 campaign.
Hoyer said the two additions are both power arms who may simply need a change of scenery. Arrieta was the O's Opening Day starter in 2012.
It was difficult to part with Feldman.
"We really liked what we saw in him when we signed him as a free agent," Hoyer said of Feldman. "We felt getting him out of the American League and getting him to the National League Central and giving him a full-time role would be important to him.
"It's never easy to give up a guy who has performed well for you, but to have two power arms is important."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.