Reds add veteran starter-reliever Feldman

Righty expected to compete for job in Cincinnati's rotation

Reds add veteran starter-reliever Feldman

CINCINNATI -- The Reds have added more veteran depth to their pitching staff. Free-agent swingman right-hander Scott Feldman was signed to a one-year, $2.3 million contract on Wednesday. The move was announced by the club on Thursday morning.

Feldman, who has experience in the rotation and bullpen, can also receive an additional $2.2 million in incentives.

"He's a guy that throws strikes. He's a ground-ball pitcher with a consistent track record who has succeeded in both the bullpen and the rotation," Reds general manager Dick Williams said. "Those combinations were factors."

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Feldman will get a chance to compete for one of the Reds' two rotation vacancies. The club has several young contenders also vying for the spots.

"I think that one of the more attractive things about Cincinnati was they obviously wanted me there, which you have to have that first and foremost," Feldman told MLB.com. "Also, in talking with them a little bit, the opportunity if I do go out there and pitch well, I think there's a good opportunity for me there."

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Williams has been looking for a veteran pitcher who is able to start but be flexible enough to move to the bullpen if the prospects show they are ready. Also competing for the rotation are younger pitchers like Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Tim Adleman and Sal Romano.

But Cincinnati still wanted to add a veteran, after trading starter Dan Straily to Miami for three prospects last week. Straily won 14 games and pitched 191 1/3 innings in 2016.

"Especially after trading Straily, to have a durable strike-throwing innings eater is a great addition for our ballclub and an area of need," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It also saves us from having to feel like we're rushing a couple of guys into the rotation -- young guys that we expect to compete and compete well."

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Feldman, who turns 34 on Feb. 7, split last season with Houston and Toronto. He was 7-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 40 games, including five starts. All five of Feldman's starts came with the Astros, among his 26 appearances, and he posted a 2.90 ERA overall with Houston. After being traded to the Blue Jays and pitching all of his 14 games out of the bullpen, he struggled with an 8.40 ERA.

"He's pitched the innings, made the starts, he throws strikes," Price said. "In order to have a fresh bullpen, you have to have reliable starting pitching. Initially for me, that's the role he falls in. If he's better suited to help us in the bullpen, that will come to light at some point in time."

Over 12 big league seasons, Feldman is 71-77 with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 321 games, including 183 starts, with the Rangers, Cubs, Orioles, Astros and Blue Jays. Over his career, he's induced ground balls just over 47 percent of the time, according to Fangraphs.com.

"I think my last few years starting were all pretty similar to one another," Feldman said. "I think as long as I'm healthy, which I've proved I was healthy last year. So just a matter of going out there and performing now, so hopefully I can go out there and provide the team with good, quality innings when they need me. And hopefully they need me to start, is what I'm hoping. I know I have to go out there and earn that."

In the past month, the Reds have spent $5.3 million in guaranteed money on Feldman and reliever Drew Storen. It could be higher if both pitchers reach their incentive bonuses.

"We knew we wanted to invest in shoring up the pitching," Williams said. "We think that getting players healthy, young guys coming up and some investments in players from the outside -- those three things will improve our pitching dramatically from last year."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.