UPDATE 1/10 11:00am ET: The Astros' three-year, $30 million deal with right-hander Scott Feldman is somewhat front-loaded, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The contract will pay Feldman $12 million next season, $10 million in 2015 and just $8 million in 2016.
While it's a fool's errand to say with any certainty what Houston's long-term plans are for Feldman, the team-friendly structure of the deal seems to indicate that the 30-year-old won't be one of their typical "sign-then-trade" arms. The Astros aren't the only club to front load a contract this winter -- Matt Sullivan touched on Jhonny Peralta's contract with the Cards recently -- which leads one to ponder whether perhaps there's a trend in the making.
Feldman will likely be the elder statesman in an Astros rotation in 2014 that includes a number of young arms (Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer) and possibly top prospect Mark Appel.
The Houston Astros have agreed to sign starter Scott Feldman to a three-year, $30 million contract, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. The deal is pending a physical, which should be taken soon.
As Rosenthal first reported the other day, the Astros have been active in their search for starting pitching, making serious bids at Phil Hughes and Josh Johnson, who signed with the Twins and Padres, respectively. The team has shown that they have money to spend, and committed a significant amount to Feldman, who will immediately become a top-line starter in the team's rotation.
Feldman, who turns 31 in February, drew interest from the Orioles, Yankees and Twins before agreeing to terms with the Astros. After pitching well for the Cubs at the beginning of last year, the right-hander was traded to the Orioles and posted a 5-6 record and 4.27 ERA in 15 starts down the stretch. In 30 total starts in 2013, Feldman was 12-12 with a 3.86 ERA, which is significantly lower than his career 4.62 ERA.
Feldman joins an Astros' rotation that already includes young guns Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock, replacing Erik Bedard as the team's veteran starting pitching presence. First overall pick Mark Appel may join the rotation at some point in 2014 as well, giving the Astros another young arm with ace potential.