Scott Feldman allowed the first five batters he faced to reach in his start against the Washington Nationals on Monday, two of which clubbed homers en route to a rough first inning on the mound. Unfortunately, it turns out that would be Feldman’s lone inning on the mound, as he exited straight to the locker room as his day was done, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reported.
After 9 came to the plate in top 1, Feldman (down 5-0) went straight to the tunnel instead of dugout. Price and trainer followed. #reds— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) July 17, 2017
That’s not a good sign for any pitcher, much less one who’s been the most dependable on a rocky Cincinnati Reds staff - and one who figured to be marketed heavily ahead of this month’s non-waiver trade deadline.
The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan noted that Feldman was barely topping 80 mph with his cutter by the end of his 33 pitch inning, well below the 88 mph he’d averaged on the pitch to this point in the 2017 season.
The velocity dip wasn’t something wholly new to Feldman or the Reds, as Buchanan himself had written about prior to the All Star break. However, the additional drop from when that article was written to today’s performance obviously became much more noticeable.
This development is brutal for Cincinnati’s chances of trading Feldman before the July 31st deadline, as even if every scan and test out there shows there’s nothing tangibly wrong with Feldman, the perception of a potential injury paired with a noticeable velocity decline will do all it can to sink his value. And for the Reds - who for a time seemed to have struck flip gold with Feldman for just a hair over $2 million in base guarantee for 2017 - it may well end up torpedoing their chance to cash in on the 34 year old free-agent-to-be.
Dang. Here’s to hoping Scott’s OK, and that everyone finds that news out as soon as possible.