Cubs sign righthander Scott Feldman

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The Cubs have signed free agent right-hander Scott Feldman, 29, who will join the rotation with hopes of rebounding from a poor 2012 season with Texas.

Feldman agreed to a one-year deal worth an estimated $6 million. Incentives could add as much as $1 million more to the deal.

The Rangers opted not to re-sign Feldman after he finished 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA in 21 starts and eight relief appearances.

But Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Feldman and former Minnesota pitcher Scott Baker, who signed a one-year deal two weeks ago, were the free agents the Cubs targeted.

“You’re always looking to find value in the free agent market,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “You’re always looking for guys who provide value. Both Baker and Feldman were guys we targeted because we thought they could both benefit coming to the National League.”

Feldman’s breakout season came in 2009 with the Rangers when he went 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 31 starts and three relief appearances is an indication of his talent. He was the opening day starter in 2010 but went 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA and had off-season surgery on his right knee.

He missed the first half of 2011 while he recuperated, going 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA. He was used as a starter and in relief in 2012.

“We signed Scott as a starter,” Hoyer said. “I know he bounced around with the Rangers but I think that was partly because of their depth. We’ve always liked his stuff. He gets ground balls and he’s pitched in difficult environments. Given his age and his stuff, it’s another chance to get a quality arm.”

“He felt he was looking over his shoulder a lot [worried about bad outings,]” Hoyer said. “If you look inside his [2012] numbers, they weren’t what he hoped but he also was one of the least lucky pitchers. It wasn’t as bad as the ERA on paper.”

Feldman said the Cubs’ 101-loss season didn’t deter him from signing.

“To be honest, I think you see what happens in baseball,” he said Tuesday. “No one was ready to crown the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles with anything at the beginning of the season and they made the playoffs, and the Orioles bounced us. Baseball is a funny game and anything can happen. It’s unpredictable in that way. On paper, it might look tough to turn around a 100-loss team, but crazier things have happened.”

Feldman called the Cubs “a dream scenario” for him, especially with the assurance he would be part of the rotation.

“I’m pretty confident I can get back to the level of success I had in 2009,” he said. “That was the first time I was getting regular work and I got a lot of confidence. Compared to the last season, I think I’m a better pitcher now and feel I’m able to do more now than in 2009.”

The Cubs will make a roster move later Tuesday to add Feldman to the 40-man roster.

Hoyer also said he remains in talks with third baseman Ian Stewart, who missed most of last season with a wrist injury. The team has until Friday to decide to tender him a contract.

“He’s taking light batting practice,” Hoyer said. “We’ll continue to talk over the next few days.”


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