Phillies Sign Reliever Qualls

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, January 31, 2012 11:15 AM | Comments: 19
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Chad Qualls (AP)

The Phillies have made what would seem like one final move to try and solidify the bullpen by signing veteran Chad Qualls.

From the Phillies:

Right-hander Chad Qualls signed a one-year, $1.15 million contract with the Phillies, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.  The contract includes performance and awards bonuses.

Qualls, 33, went 6-8 with a 3.51 ERA in a team-high 77 games for the San Diego Padres last season.  In his final 19 appearances, he posted a 1.96 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .219 batting average.  Qualls made the eighth-most relief appearances among all major league pitchers last year.

Over the past seven seasons (2005-11), Qualls has made more appearances (512) than any other major league pitcher and ranks second in relief wins (34), trailing only Jesse Crain (38).

Originally a second-round selection by the Houston Astros, Qualls has a career record of 38-34 with 51 saves and a 3.78 ERA in 537 games for the Astros (2004-07), Arizona Diamondbacks (2008-10), Tampa Bay Rays (2010) and Padres (2011).

Qualls will wear #50.

I think you’re all well aware of my stance on guys of this ilk. Is he going to be a big difference maker over cheaper, younger, less proven relief pitchers like Michael Schwimer or Justin De Fratus, among others? Not that it’s a waste of over $1 million, but it just seems like an unnecessary investment. Perhaps Ed Wade has his paws on this one, as Qualls is a former Houston Astro. That being said, Qualls has been a decent pitcher in this league for a long time.

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    Excellent signing (cheap, too)! I’ve been trying to trade Blanton, Kendrick, et al for this guy on MLB the Show and the Padres keep rejecting my offers :(

  • Posts: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    Chad Durbin was making twice as much with us at one point…
    Contreras signed a 5.5 million deal…

    And if you ask me, Qualls is way, way better than those guys…. and comes with a much lower price tag. This really fortifies the bullpen and very cheaply. I’m happy with this signing.

    • Posts: 1376 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      Manny, I get that, but you’re paying $2.5 million already for Contreras. I just wanna see what these young kids have to offer and they keep blocking them.

      • Posts: 1110 Manny

        Avatar of Manny

        So how does the pen look like now?

        Contreras* (who has a 50% chance of being injured)

        That’s 7 guys and I think they have the higher odds of being on the Opening Day roster. But I’m pretty sure that the following will get a call up at some point in the season (bc of injury or merit):


        And some of those will probably stick like Stutes did in 2011.

        And then in Sept, Aumont, etc.

        So while I agree with you in that I want to see the younger guys get more MLB time, I’m happy with the balance we have now with the Qualls signing. Plus, how can you say no to a very good late-inning reliever at such a low price tag? It can’t hurt.

    • Posts: 0 g mo pro

      I agree with Manny. Qualls has a low walk rate, keeps the ball in the park, gives up hits ,but not a ton of xtra base hits or homers. Krate has gone down, but lots of ground balls works for me.

  • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    So, really, it’s either ultra-versatile Wilson Valdez and one of Schwimmer, DeFratus, etc …. at $930,000 and the league minimum….


    Mini-Mart (who is pretty useless, in my opinion) and Qualls…. at the league minimum and 1.15MM.

    Seriously, I just don’t see why these two moves (Valdez and Qualls) were even made.

    Hope I’m wrong…

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I don’t get it either, although the part after the “or” also includes 26-yo Jeremy Horst in AAA.

      • Posts: 5449 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Since they don’t really have a spot now for Horst, it seems possible that the Valdez trade was nothing more than a salary dump to allow them to do this.

  • Posts: 0 g mo pro

    Team is at its peak going for rings. This isnt the time for experimenting with inexperienced youth in the pen. This is lockdown time and time to add experience to back up the great starters. We are not rebuilding. THis is a nice signing at a low price. Qualls should keep the ball in the park, I hope. Nice job RAJr

  • Posts: 0 Psujoe

    Qualls is finished. 2.09 home era. 5.05 away. Safeco allows pitchers to put up numbers that are a mirage. I guess RAJ looking for lightening in a bottle.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Well, yes and no. (Also, San Diego plays in PETCO Field; Safeco is in Seattle)

      First, let me preface this by saying I really don’t like the singing, because if the Phils have one area where their youth pipeline is stacked it’s in the bullpen. Those kids really need to be given a shot, rather than relegated to season after season of dominating AAA hitters.

      That being said, Qualls is an extreme ground-ball pitcher, and it’s generally the extreme fly-ball pitchers who receive the largest benefit from places like PETCO, Safeco and AT&T Park. His home/road splits are a little concerning, but I have to think that’s more due to just variance than park factors. While some of it is due to luck (.256 BABIP @ home v. .306 BABIP on the road), there is something else going on because his K/9, BB/9 numbers are also significantly better at home than on the road, and I can’t correlate that to the park factor. The K/9 issue seems to be legit, since you see the same thing in 2010 and 2008, 2007 and 2006 (as far back as I looked) while the walk rate and BABIP normalize a bit (although the walk rate on the road is still a bit elevated.)

      He just looks like a guy who is more comfortable pitching at home where he’s familiar with the mound/field/hookers/whatever.

      But I still think he’s not really needed and is thus a waste of ~$600k, unless they know something about Contreras’ health that we’re not privy to.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    A solid, budget signing for a bullpen that has some question marks. Don’t worry Pat, the kids will have their chances to prove themselves during the season as there will always be injuries. Someone that has traditionally been dependable like Qualls is well worth the million.

  • Posts: 5449 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Pat, two things strike me as I think about this. First I don’t think they have much confidence in the young arms, or at least not yet. And, I also think they’re showing that they are uncertain about the health of Blanton or Contreras.

    They’ve signed Pineiro, Horst, Willis, Qualls, Bush, Sanches and Purcey to major or minor league contracts this offseason alone. I may be forgetting someone else too. But the point is they either weren’t happy with their young guys, or fear health problems.

  • Posts: 81 Tom

    Avatar of Tom

    Sorry Pat, I totally agree that you can’t pass up a quality arm at that price! You can’t just go with the young guys…have to bring them along, and they will get their shots due to injuries! @Chuck A…hopefully they aren’t done with the bench yet and will pick up another veteran middle IF on the cheap! I don’t have faith in Mini-Mart either! I think RAJ still has some moves up his sleeve!

  • Posts: 0 Dave

    Can someone help me figure out the roster at this point. By my calcuations, I have 7 relievers…Kendrick, Bastardo, Stutes, Willis, Contreras, Qualls, and Papelbon. 5 starters..Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley and Blanton. 8 starters…Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ruiz, Mayberry, Victorino, and Pence. And 6 bench players? Thome, Nix, Wiggington, Schneider, Martinez and Pierre. Howard starts the year on the DL. Possibly Contreras and/or Blanton. I don’t see any bullpen spots open for the young kids. Did I go wrong anywhere?

  • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I don’t know…in my opinion, you give the young guys a shot (you’ve got 3 or 4 legitimate ones) and keep someone like Valdez (for his flexibility, etc)..

    rather than signing someone like Qualls and having to depend on MiniMart.

    I’m assuming they are planning on using Wigginton primarily at 3rd to spell Polanco? That would mean MiniMart for SS and 2B.

    • Posts: 1048 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Wigginton has played some second base in his career too, so he could theoretically spell both Utley and Polanco if needed.

      I wouldn’t be really thrilled with such a proposition, however, since he’s a bit of a butcher there.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Prospects are just that – you can’t pass up a quality experienced MLB reliever at a low salary for “prospect development.” The fact is that these kids have not done all that well in their limited callups. IF Amaro really thought they had it he would stick with them.

    The other thing I think everyone should consider. The window of opportunity is about to close. Just doing simple arithmetic tells me that you cannot have Victorino, Pence and Hamels in 2013. One or two of them will have to go in order to keep the payroll down below the luxury tax. Amaro knows this better than we do. 2012may be the last chance to take advantage of three aces – prospects can wait unless we have a real winner. I don’t see anyone putting these guys high on anyone’s list and I don’t ever think that Contreras and Stutes will be major contributors in 2012. Stocking up the bullpen makes a lot of sense to me.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    I have no qualms about Qualls. He has a lot of experience and is a groundball pitcher. I think Ruben is very mindful that the “window of opportunity” may be closing quickly and wants to make sure he fields the best and most proven team possible. It should be very interesting.

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