11/27 Extra bases: Feldman, Stewart & Deer
The addition of Scott Feldman fulfills GM Jed Hoyer’s wish list this offseason as far as starting pitching. Feldman and Scott Baker join Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Travis Wood in the Cubs rotation. Feldman was the Rangers’ Opening Day starter in 2010 and feels he can get back to how he pitched in ’09 when he won 17 games if he gets regular work.
“I think part of why he agreed to a one-year deal is that he has a lot of confidence in himself and felt like, ‘Hey, I know I can pitch better than I did last year and I can potentially use that as a spring-board,’” Hoyer said. “He showed a lot of confidence in wanting a one-year deal.
“I think last year, if you look inside his numbers, the numbers were not what he probably hoped but they were pretty misleading. If you look at his ratios and different underlying numbers, he’s one of the most unlucky pitchers in the game last year. While it wasn’t his best year, it certainly wasn’t nearly as bad as the ERA on the page says it was.”
The Cubs will announce a 40-man roster move later in the day Tuesday. They were at 40 before the addition of Feldman.
* Hoyer was asked about hiring Rob Deer as an assistant hitting coach.
“That’s a position a lot of teams are adding,” Hoyer said. “I think baseball teams in general are starting to realize the pitching coach has 12 guys and he has help from the bullpen coach, and the hitting coach has 13 guys and no help at all. Teams are starting to add a second hitting coach. Candidly, I’m sort of upset, looking back on the years in Boston and San Diego, I feel it’s a position we should’ve added long ago. Dale [Sveum] has a long relationship with Rob, and speaks incredibly highly of him. Our interactions with him are real positive. We’re excited to add him. He can really assist James [Rowson, hitting coach] well and add a nice element to our clubhouse.”
Some have pointed to Deer’s career .220 batting average and 1,409 career strikeouts as not seeming to be conducive to someone to listen to.
“On that note, I think mentioning a coach’s stats as a player is one of the least useful things you can imagine,” Hoyer said. “No one ever mentions Jim Leyland’s numbers or Tony La Russa’s numbers. I think coaching and playing are two very separate things. Just because a guy happened to strike out a lot or didn’t have a high batting average doesn’t affect how well he teaches at all. I also would note [Deer] was a guy who did get on base and had a lot of power. I don’t think a coach’s playing background says how he coaches and how he teaches.”
* Friday is the deadline for teams to decide whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. Ian Stewart is an interesting case as he recovers from wrist surgery.
“We’re still talking to Ian,” Hoyer said. “We got a report today on his wrist and how he’s doing. He’s taking light batting practice, hitting balls off a tee and it seems like the wrist is progressing nicely. We’ll continue those conversations throughout the week. There’s a decision to be made at the end of the week. We’ve had a good dialogue with Ian and Larry Reynolds, his agent, and we’ll continue to do that for the next three or four days.”
The Cubs’ other arbitration eligible players include Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, and Luis Valbuena.
– Carrie Muskat