For the second time in just seven months, the Orioles have tapped into Major League Baseball’s Jewish market.
On Tuesday, July 2, the Orioles bolstered their starting rotation by acquiring pitcher Scott Feldman — one of 11 Jewish players currently on a major league roster — in a trade with the Chicago Cubs. Baltimore parted ways with struggling pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to obtain Feldman, a nine-year major league veteran, and minor league catcher (and Baltimore native) Steve Clevenger.
“He’s a proven veteran starting pitcher, and he’s pitched very well in this ballpark [Camden Yards],” Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette said of Feldman last week. “He’s pitched in the postseason, he won 17 games [in a season], and he is on his way to having a good year.”
In an ironic twist, the Orioles demoted fellow Jewish player Danny Valencia to the minors to make room on the 25-man roster for Feldman.
Feldman, 30, has a 46-50 overall major league record with a 4.65 ERA. He spent his first eight seasons with the Texas Rangers, whose ballpark is notoriously tough on pitchers. Arguably his best year came in 2009 when he went 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA and 113 strikeouts. Current Orioles Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day and Taylor Teagarden all played for the Rangers that year.
“All those guys, all my buddies that I played with on the Rangers, it was kind of cool to walk in the clubhouse and see familiar faces,” Feldman told The Baltimore Sun. (Feldman declined to comment for this story.)
In his first season with the Cubs, Feldman — a 6-foot-7, 230-pound right-hander — was 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA before being traded.
On Wednesday, July 3, just one day after being dealt, Feldman made his first start with the Orioles, limiting the Chicago White Sox to two runs over six innings. He struck out six without giving up a walk. The Orioles won, 4-2.
Last Monday, facing the Rangers, Feldman did not fare as well. Against his former team, he allowed seven earned runs and took the loss in his Camden Yards debut.