Each day until free agency begins, we at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will become a free agent five days after the World Series’ conclusion. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with 6’7″ righty Scott Feldman. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink above.
Feldman got his first taste of Big League action in 2005 as a 22-year old who had spent the previous two seasons in Rookie Ball with the Rangers. After appearing in parts of three seasons as a reliever for Texas, Feldman transitioned to a near full-time starting pitcher in 2008. Feldman throws a low-90s fastball with a slider, change-up, and curve, with a 15-MPH difference between his fastball and curve but just a five-MPH difference between his fastball and change-up.
Feldman has a career 4.62 ERA but a 1.370 WHIP, suggesting that some of his high ERA may have come from pitching in Texas. Yet, Feldman struggles to strike opposing hitters out (5.6 K/9 IP) and really struggles to not walk them (3.0 BB/9 IP). Despite his struggles, Feldman has played above replacement level according to FanGraphs, posting 3.4, 1.3, 0.3, 2.3, and 2.1 WAR in each season since 2009.
Feldman could provide innings-eating depth for the Phillies in 2014 or be a fit in a swing man role. Over his career, Feldman has been worth 10.2 fWAR, 7.8 more than Kyle Kendrick in 30 less innings for a frame of reference.
According to the awesome FanGraphs crowd-sourcing project, Feldman is likely in line for somewhere between $8-9 million per year for between two and three years.
With approximately $49 million committed to just three pitchers in 2014, Feldman’s cost could be prohibitive, especially when it doesn’t fill what is seen as an immediate need. Feldman does not have an extensive injury history so he does not project to be available on a discount like John Lannan was last season. Ruben Amaro has already stated that Kyle Kendrick will be tendered a contract for 2014, meaning that $49 million commitment likely jumps to somewhere between $55 and $58 million for just four starters.
Verdict: Explore, Leaning Pass
Feldman could add some veteran certainty to the back end of the Phillies rotation that could be filled with any pair of Kyle Kendrick, Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin, or Adam Morgan. Feldman is a better pitcher than Kendrick and may end up with a similar AAV to Kendrick. If I had to choose between the two, I would choose Feldman, however, right now, I would pass on Feldman and Kendrick and let Pettibone and Morgan have a shot if the choices were limited to this group.