Yes, the Cubs picked up top infield prospect Mike Olt and pitcher Justin Grimm for Garza. They have also picked up some interesting pieces in some of their other trades. But, to me, getting Arrieta and Strop for Feldman and a backup catcher who is not in the major leagues right now seems like a coup. Arrieta has a chance to be a solid middle of the rotation starting pitcher and was a highly touted pitcher. Baltimore thought of Arrieta as part of its pitching solution. Strop was one of the more impressive middle relievers in all of baseball in 2012, going 5-2, 2.44 in 70 games for the Orioles, while making 2 scoreless appearances in the playoffs. Things did not go too well for Strop in Baltimore this season, as he was 0-3, 7.25 in 29 games before the trade. Since going to Chicago, however, Strop is 2-1, 2.19 in 26 games, pitching to a WHIP of 0.892.
Feldman, who like Strop, had ties to the Texas Rangers, has been an opt injured pitcher who the Cubs signed to an incentive laden one year contract. While Feldman was not dominant, his 7-6, 3.75 in 15 starts provided stability in the Cubs rotation. Epstein had signed pitchers like Feldman with the thought he could trade him down the road if he increased his value. Getting Arrieta and Strop for Feldman was more than anybody could have imagined. Both Cubs pitchers are 27 and Feldman is 30. Arrieta also has a higher ceiling than Feldman, who has had success as both a starter and reliever during his time with the Rangers. Will the two Cubs pitchers be the reason the organization finally turns this thing around? Probably not, but turning a 1 year, $6 million investment in a back of the rotation starting pitcher into Arrieta and Strop was a very wise move.