Less than two months into the baseball season, the success of Scott Feldman is already producing the perfect storm of trade rumors.
Feldman signed a one-year deal with the Cubs prior to this season, and has righted the ship after a slow start with his new team. After losing each of his first three starts, the right-hander has been one of the best in the big leagues, winning four of his last five starts, and tabbing a 3-0 record in May. His 2.19 ERA is tops among Cubs starters, and ranks sixth in the National League.
Meanwhile, the Cubs (18-25) are trying to stay out of the cellar in one of the best divisions in baseball. They are currently seesawing with the Brewers at the bottom of the NL Central. And with Feldman in a contract year, his dominant May is certainly catching the eye of contending teams in search of a hot veteran starter.
Feldman envisions a different scenario though. After spending eight years with the Rangers, he would be game for another such long-term tenure in Chicago. And Feldman has his eye on the ultimate prize.
“I think it would be awesome to re-sign here,” Feldman said. “I think that this organization is headed in the right direction. You never know when it’s going to happen, but (the Cubs are) not too far away from being a pretty good team. I think when this team finally does finally win, and win the whole thing, this town is going to just go crazy. So, I think it would be awesome to try and be a part of that.”
Feldman isn’t getting too far ahead of himself though. In the midst of one of the best months of his career, Feldman said he’s taking things start-by-start. His first start of the month was one to savor though, as he went the distance against San Diego on May 1. Not only did he notch a career-high 12 strikeouts. It was also the first complete game of his professional career.
“Yeah, first one,” Feldman said. “It took me awhile, but it was nice to finally get that one.”
Feldman is settling in with another Bay Area native in his first year with the Cubs – former Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz. And like Feldman, Schierholtz is off to the best start of his career. The left-handed batting right fielder has been hitting predominantly in the No. 5 spot of the order, and is generating the power numbers to stay there. Schierholtz is currently mashing to the tune of a .520 slugging percentage, and has already hit five home runs. He tabbed his career high of nine homers in 2009 with the Giants.
“He’s been one of the more consistent hitters in the league to start the season,” Feldman said. “I think getting out of [AT&T Park], that’s a tough place to hit when you’re a left-handed hitter. You really have to crush a ball, unless it goes right down the line. I think just getting him in a normal stadium and getting more playing time is really going to let him show off his ability a lot more.”
Although they first met prior to the start of this season, Feldman and Schierholtz were conference rivals at the community-college level in 2003. Feldman is the all-time career wins leader at College of San Mateo, having pitched there from 2002-03. Schierholtz was a slugging third baseman at Hayward’s Chabot College, ranking second in the state with 18 home runs in 2003.
Feldman didn’t pitch against Chabot that season, so the two never faced one another in college. They were each drafted out of their respective junior colleges in 2003 though. Schierholtz was a freshman draftee, taken in the second round by the Giants. Feldman was drafted the following day by Texas in the 30th round.