Feldman’s Fatal Flaw

Scott Feldman is now in his eighth season with the Texas Rangers.  Although his overall career stats don’t foreshadow an eventual enshrinement in Cooperstown, he’s been largely serviceable — even pretty good at times (such as his 17-win season in 2009 and his solid work throughout most of last year’s playoff run).

The Rangers finished in the bottom half of the AL West during each of Feldman’s first three seasons with the club, but he’s benefited from being part of a team who has been in contention every year since – including back-to-back division titles and World Series appearances.

This year, Feldman has struggled mightily.  To suggest his performance has even been in the same zip code as mediocrity would be vastly overrating what he’s actually contributed so far this season.  When Neftali Feliz went down with an injury that landed him an extended stay on the disabled list, Feldman was given a golden opportunity to take advantage of a prolonged return to the starting rotation…and he absolutely blew it, going 1-6 with a 6.64 ERA since replacing Feliz.

So, given how badly he has let down the Rangers, you would think Feldman might be appreciative he’s even still on the 40-man roster of the best team in baseball at this point.  Not by a long shot.

Instead, Feldman chose to display an appalling level of petulance and selfishness when learning of his return to the bullpen to make room for Roy Oswalt in the rotation.  He told the media that he’s “not happy” about it, even going so far as making the claim that the Rangers are going to end up hurting his arm by moving him “back and forth” from the rotation to the bullpen.

In his interview with Sarah Trotto of ESPNDallas.com, Feldman went on to say, “Basically, telling me that I’m not in the plans for the second time this year, spring training and then now, that’s fine, if I’m not in their plans.  But it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.”

What a terrible attitude for a guy in his position to have.  Feldman’s anger is grossly misplaced.  For some reason, he’s mad at the team who has given him chance after chance for nearly a decade.  The Rangers haven’t failed Scott Feldman.  He’s failed them…repeatedly.

It’s one thing not to be contributing up to expectations, but Feldman’s fatal flaw is not what he’s done on the mound – it’s what he’s doing in the clubhouse.  After six weeks of subpar baseball, the Rangers have finally gotten things back on track and are playing like they did when they got off to such a magnificent start in April.  The last thing they need is to have their winning chemistry disrupted by an underachieving malcontent.

Feldman needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror.  Does he want to be part of a team with championship potential?  If so, he needs to swallow his pride and accept the fact that the only viable role for him as a Ranger at this point is in long relief.  Regardless of whether he thinks pitching out of the bullpen is beneath him, Feldman must come to grips with the reality of his situation.  Teams don’t win championships with 6+ ERA guys dragging down their rotation, and they certainly don’t win pennants with disgruntled players poisoning their clubhouse.

It’s time for Feldman to either get with the program or get the hell out of Arlington!

Bob Bland is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at Bob.Bland@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @SDIBob.
Bob Bland

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