Cincinnati Reds signed Scott Feldman to back-up the pitching staff in some undecided role

Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Reds signed former Houston Astros starter Scott Feldman to fill whatever role the prospects can’t.

The Cincinnati Reds signed a successful mid-career pitcher in Scott Feldman.  He came to the majors as a reliever before the Texas Rangers transitioned him to a starter.  He started his entire time with the Houston Astros, until the second month of last season.

That seems like a great balance for a young Reds team, but Feldman has never led a staff.  He hasn’t been a closer and he hasn’t been an ace.  That is not a critique of Feldman, but a part of the mystery as to his role on the young Reds staff.

Feldman pitched 77 innings for the Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays last year in both relief and starting roles.  That is his lowest total since an injury riddled 2011 season.  The last time before 2011 that he pitched less than 100 innings was 2007, his first season spent mostly in the majors.

That’s what makes the signing of Feldman so intriguing.  Even though the Reds traded Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins, there is no obvious opening for Feldman in the rotation.  The Reds seem set on filling the rotation with prospects, if possible.

In the bullpen Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias seem to have the backend covered with a little help from new closer Drew Storen.  In the rotation the Reds seem intent on the fronting the rotation with Anthony DeSclafani backed by Brandon Finnegan, TIm Adleman in relief of the injured Homer Bailey, and two prospects.

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The Cincinnati Reds can take the best twelve pitchers to Cincinnati on Opening Day thanks to Feldman’s flexibility.

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The Reds have slowly moved towards having the best twelve pitchers on their opening day roster since they moved Iglesias and Lorenzen into the bullpen last year.  The signing of Storen stabilized the bullpen and allowed the Reds to keep the prospects set to join the rotation in the rotation.  The signing of Feldman continues to move the staff in the same direction.

Feldman appears set to be the long man in the bullpen.  The rest of the bullpen is set with Storen as the closer,  and Lorenzen and Iglesias in set-up role.  Tony Cingrani is a lock as the lefty, and Blake Wood as the mid-inning specialist.  That leaves one low leverage spot for Jumbo Diaz to defend.  Diaz has to worry about Wandy Peralta, prospect Barrett Astin, and the non-roster invitees.

The signing of Feldman will also allow Tim Adleman to return to Louisville.  Then he could be an insurance policy against a second Bailey injury in 2017.  Prior to the signing of Feldman, Adleman appeared destined for the long reliever role.  Now Adleman can return to Louisville in case Bailey or any other starter comes up lame later in the season.

Next: Reds need to pivot away from rebuild

In all likelihood Feldman will be on another team by the time September first rolls around.  Louis Coleman or Bronson Arroyo, among others, could replace him at that time.  In the meantime, though, he allows manager Bryan Price to manage the staff however he likes.