Tag: Chad Qualls

Jason Motte, Chad Qualls to Rockies: Latest Contract Details and Reaction

The Colorado Rockies attempted to bolster their bullpen Tuesday by coming to terms with a pair of veteran relief pitchers, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls.

Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post first reported the news and the Rockies quickly confirmed the two-year deals for both relievers. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, citing sources, reported Motte’s contract is worth $10 million and added that Qualls’ contract is worth $6 million.

Upgrading the bullpen was one of the top things on the Rockies’ to-do list this winter. They finished last in the majors in reliever ERA last season at 4.70, according to ESPN.com. The National League average was more than a run better at 3.66.

Motte spent last season with the Chicago Cubs, posting a 3.91 ERA across 57 appearances. He broke into the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he finished with an ERA of 2.75 or better in four of his first five seasons before struggling in 2014 with a 4.68 mark.

Saunders noted the 33-year-old right-hander dealt with shoulder soreness near the end of last season. If he’s back to full strength, he should be a strong bounce-back candidate.

The Rockies will mark the ninth different stop in Qualls’ career. He sports a 3.80 career ERA, including a 4.38 mark last season. Yet, a 2.99 xFIP and a 8.39 strikeout rate in 2015, per FanGraphs, while with the Houston Astros suggests he pitched better than his ERA would indicate.

Ultimately, Motte and Qualls aren’t going to solve all of Colorado’s woes in the latter innings. The former must prove he’s back to full health, and the latter has endured some up-and-down campaigns over the past handful of years.

They can provide some stability in the late innings if at their respective best. For the Rockies, which struggled mightily in those situations in 2015, it’s worth taking a chance on a pair of resurgent seasons.


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MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Trades Will Keep Pittsburgh Pirates in Playoff Hunt

The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t land any of this year’s most coveted trade chips, but they approached the July 31 deadline with a level head and the necessary poise.

Pittsburgh added four players either at, or prior, to this year’s trade deadline. Check out NBC Sports’ Matthew Pouliot‘s overview of the Pirates new acquisitions:

They certainly got more interesting with Travis Snider in right field and Sanchez replacing Casey McGehee in the first base platoon. Snider hasn’t been quite as much of a disappointment as everyone thinks—he has a .248/.306/.429 line and 31 homers in 835 at-bats—and he’s just 24 years old. Sanchez is a career .298/.390/.488 hitter against lefties. He’s been way off this year, but if the Pirates can get him straightened out, he’ll be a nice part-timer. Again, I’m not sold on the moves—Brad Lincoln was looking pretty good since a switch to the pen—but factor in the Wandy Rodriguez pickup last week and they belong in the winners category.

The only move he doesn’t touch on involves the Pirates flipping McGehee to the Yankees for Chad Qualls. Qualls has been designated for assignment once this year, and he probably would have fallen victim to the same fate in New York. He is carrying a 4.89 ERA into PNC Park, but his career ERA (3.84) suggests a possible turnaround. 

None of these moves jump off of the page and shake you. None of these players are “star” players, and the Pirates didn’t improve exponentially, but each player provides stability to the Pirate roster.

Adding Snider allows Pittsburgh to move Alex Presley to a permanent bench role. This makes the Pirates’ lineup more versatile and adds more power to their home run-happy batting order.

Snider hasn’t proven himself this year. He’s hitting .250 with three home runs and eight RBI in 10 major-league games this season, but the potential is definitely there. His Triple-A numbers are excellent (.335, 13 home runs and 57 RBI in 61 games), and he gives the Pirates another piece for their future nucleus (under team control until 2016).

Sanchez doesn’t provide the same potential, but he is coming off two very solid seasons. He has the potential to hit 20 home runs, and he could flourish in a platoon role with Garrett Jones at first base. They only had to give up speed merchant and defensive outfielder Gorkys Hernandez who was no longer a valuable piece on the bench.

Qualls and Rodriguez both add stability to the stable of Pittsburgh’s overachieving arms. I mentioned Qualls’ struggles this season, but he’s a solid middle-innings option on a young squad. Rodriguez is an above-average lefty, and those don’t grow on trees.

Some Pittsburgh fans may groan at the thought of these moves. The Pirates didn’t make the big splash that everyone was hoping for, but they got the job done without sacrificing anything important for the future.

For this particular organization, that’s what’s important. They’ve worked too hard to get their farm system back to respectable status, and they’ve spent too much time developing their current nucleus, to blow it up in one year.

Small market clubs can’t throw dollars and prospects around like it’s nothing. Each move has to be calculated, and the future always has to be considered. 

Pittsburgh did an excellent job of making the moves necessary to continue their playoff run this year without diminishing their future plans. In Snider’s case, they actually added a potentially valuable piece.

Expect Pittsburgh’s new players to keep them in the thick of this year’s pennant race. They got stronger in important areas, and the added energy will give them the momentum they need down the stretch.

Neil Huntingdon was in unprecedented territory for any Pirate general manager in recent memory, but he showed an acuity that comes with experience.

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MLB Trade Deadline: Yankees Land Casey McGehee from Pirates for Chad Qualls

The Yankees didn’t make the big splash at the 4 p.m. deadline for a player like Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza.

Instead, they made a trade more on need for third base, as they acquired third baseman Casey McGehee from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for reliever Chad Qualls, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.



The 29-year-old McGehee is only hitting .230 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 92 games for the Pirates.

With the injury to Alex Rodriguez, breaking his hand on a hit-by-pitch by Felix Hernandez, the Yankees needed to find a more everyday replacement to step in.

Two years ago when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers, McGehee hit .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI, which are very good numbers.

McGehee is up for arbitration after the 2012 season and won’t be a free agent until at least after the 2015 season, so he’s not just a rental the Yankees picked up.

McGehee is only making $2.5 million in 2013, so the Yankees taking on his salary isn’t going to break their budget.

Not only can McGehee play third base, he could also play first base as well—giving Joe Girardi some versatility in his lineup with using players at different positions.

Qualls became expendable because the Yankees will activate Joba Chamberlain off the DL. So, just one month after getting him from the Phillies, Qualls goes back to the National League.

It’s a low-risk move for the Yankees with the potential of a high-reward if McGehee can hit like he did two years ago in Milwaukee.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t want to give away top prospects for rentals, but instead he traded for a guy with a low salary who he can control over the next couple of seasons who might be able to produce for the Yankees.

Will McGehee flounder under the pressure of the Bronx, or will he thrive in his new settings?

Only time will tell to see if Cashman pulled off another great trade that helped the Yankees.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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Closing 101: How Top MLB Firemen Do It

Coming into a MLB game in the ninth inning, listening to your favorite rock or rap song surely will get you a bit nervous/pumped up/downright scared.

In my case, that song happens to be “Wonderwall” by Oasis. Yes, it may seem like a sissy song to walk out to, but read the lyrics , especially the refrain, and you will understand.

For MLB closers like Heath Bell, the nervousness/adrenaline/fear are what he thrives on. The pressure is what makes him good. At 6’3″ and a husky 250 pounds, Bell looks like the butcher at your local deli who didn’t give enough meat to his dog. He is a fun guy, and regularly uses his Wii Fit board to stay in shape. Off a baseball field, Bell doesn’t seem like an imposing man.

But once he steps onto the mound at Petco Park in the ninth inning to the tune of “Blow Me Away” by Breaking Benjamin, he is quite imposing.

Bell’s high-90s fastball sure helps.

Heat is a common denominator with closers. All closers throw upwards of 90 mph, and most throw over 95. But the gift all closers have is pure stuff.

Mariano Rivera might not throw 95 mph anymore, but his cutter is downright filthy, and even though he throws it nearly every pitch, it still is nasty enough to break hitters’ bats and paint corners.

Chad Qualls, the former closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and now a late-inning relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, throws a heavy sinker at 92 mph. The vertical break on his sinker is nasty, and not many sinkerballers can throw that hard. His slider is also hard, coming in at 86 mph and breaking heavily away from right-handed hitters.

But this year, Qualls hasn’t kept the ball down, leading to his sinkers sinking to mid-thigh height and becoming easily hittable, hence Qualls’s 8.01 ERA this season.

Jonathan Broxton, the closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is a freak. With an intimidating frame of 6’4″ and 295 pounds, Broxton brings it into triple digits regularly. His sinker is like Qualls’s, only Broxton’s is around five mph faster. He isn’t afraid of any hitter, and that may be his greatest asset.

Well, I wouldn’t be afraid of anybody if I was 6’4″, 295, would you?

Francisco Rodriguez, “K-Rod,” the closer for the New York Mets, is another in the long list of closers who have dominating stuff. K-Rod regularly cranks his fastball into the upper 90s, with corner-to-corner tailing movement on his heater. His curveball nearly hits 80 mph and is a devastating strikeout pitch. His emotions sometimes get the best of him, but K-Rod is fun to watch.

Ah, my favorite closer, Brian Wilson. Wilson, even though he isn’t as physically imposing as Broxton or Bell, is one of the best in the business. Wilson throws 99 mph regularly, and the scary part is that he paints corners with his heater. His cutter hovers around 90 mph, which makes my Pirates look that much worse, because almost all of their starting rotation’s fastballs are slower than Wilson’s cutter.

So closers all pretty much have one thing in common: A special gift. That gift may be great velocity, great movement, great control, or great craftiness, but all closers have a special gift.

(They all pretty much have a good fist pump too!)

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MLB Trade News: A Closer Look at the 10 Arizona Diamondback Acquisitions

Phoenix was the epicenter of the July 31 MLB trade deadline this year.

In four separate deals, a total of 16 players changed hands.

From the Arizona Diamondbacks side, the club parted ways with ace Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Chris Snyder and Chad Qualls.

Although the core of the Diamondbacks is still in tack, the organization over the next few years will see many new faces take the field in Phoenix.

Get to know these names, Arizona fans, you will be hearing a lot about them.

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Arizona Diamondbacks Send Chris Snyder To Pirates, Chad Qualls to Rays

It looks like the Arizona Diamondbacks aren’t quite done with their apparent fire sale just yet.

John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR is reporting that Arizona has agreed to send beleaguered relief pitcher Chad Qualls to the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named later.

Qualls, a 31-year-old righty in his third year with the Diamondbacks, has a 8.29 ERA with a 2.00 WHIP.

The Rays will pay the remainder of Qualls’ $4.2 million salary this season. 

In a separate deal, according to multiple sources, including FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and azcentral.com’s Nick Piecoro, commissioner approval is all that remains between the deal that would send Diamondbacks’ backup catcher Chris Snyder to the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

It was originally reported that the major obstacle in any deal for Snyder, are the remaining years on his current contract. 

Snyder is due $5.75 million next year with a club option worth $6.75 million for 2012 that comes with a $750,000 buyout clause. 

The 29-year-old is hitting .231 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 65 games this season.

With incumbent Pirates starting catcher Ryan Doumit on the disabled list, Snyder could earn another opportunity to see everyday work again. 

Snyder lost his starting role with Arizona in 2008 when Miguel Montero filled in for him during a stint on the DL with a back injury. 

It is unclear who the Diamondbacks will get in return for their backup, however, what is certain is that Arizona will undoubtedly pay for the majority of Snyder’s remaining salary. 

These moves mark the third and fourth trades, respectively, in six days for the last place team.

Second baseman Kelly Johnson and relief pitcher Aaron Heilman are still rumored to be on the market. 

The MLB trade deadline is July 31 at 4PM EDT.

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Yankees Trade Rumors: Not Stopping at Lance Berkman

The Lance Berkman trade isn’t even official yet and the word is that the Yankees are already moving on. According to both Buster Olney and Jack Curry, the Yankees are working on other deals and expect to make at least one, maybe two, more trades.

What else are the Yankees looking for? Well, they’ve added a full-time DH, but they still need an outfielder that can hit lefties. The ideal person would be somebody who can start in left field so the Yankees can move Brett Gardner to center and sit Curtis Granderson against tough lefties.

They also are still in search of some bullpen help. It doesn’t appear that there has been anything going on with the Blue Jays, but the Diamondbacks’ Chad Qualls is one name that has been mentioned.

Infield help could still be had as well. Berkman can play first base, but they could still use somebody to spell third baseman Alex Rodriguez every couple of days. Ramiro Pena currently has the job, but he’s nearly an automatic out.

Really, the only thing the Berkman trade changes is that it removes Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Dunn from consideration.


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Yankees Trade Rumors: D-Backs Likely to Trade Qualls, Yankees Involved

According to John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR Phoenix, the Arizona Diamondbacks are likely to make at least two more trades, including a deal that involves Chad Qualls. Gambadoro lists Colorado and the Yankees as the two most likely destinations.

Qualls, still 31 (his birthday is August 17), was the D-Backs’ closer last year and at the beginning of the season, but he’s since lost that job. He’s gotten rocked in quite a few games, allowing at least two earned runs in 11 games so far. His ERA is a hideous 8.51, but his xFIP is 3.97. So somewhere in-between those two numbers lies a not-so-great truth.

His BABIP is also a huge .436, so there is certainly the possibility that he’s been dealing with a great deal of bad luck. But he’s been consistently bad all year and has not gone as many as even five games without giving up some runs.

On top of all of this, Qualls is earning $4.185 million this season, so he still has a decent amount of money owed to him.

The Yankees are looking low and high for relief help, but if this is the best they can get, then they might as well pass and call some kids up from the minors.

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Chad Qualls: An Arizona Diamondbacks Train Wreck

First off, I’d like to apologize to train wrecks everywhere for comparing them to Chad Qualls. 

Even watching two steamers crash in slow motion isn’t as painful as watching the D-Backs’ “closer” try to actually close out a game. 

The 31-year-old righty has an 8.60 ERA in 2010 thus far, but that doesn’t even begin to explain just how bad he has been. 

Even in the games he actually does save, it’s never a 1-2-3 inning (hence his 2.11 WHIP). 

I refuse to let my grandmother watch an Arizona ninth inning anymore, for fear that her little heart just can’t take the gruesome sights.

It’s like a bad crime show, you know who the bad guy is, but it still takes till the last five minutes of the show for everyone else to figure it out. 

Duh, AJ Hinch and Kirk Gibson, how do you not realize that this guy is just downright ineffective?

Last time I checked, fastballs and cement-mixing sliders haven’t fooled anyone since Little League. 

For me, I choose to take the Happy Gilmore approach and simply go to my happy place (I’ll give you a hint, it involves Jennie Finch and a Gatorade bath). 

In order to become a relevant team again around baseball, the D-Backs are going to have trade away some of their few good players (aka Dan Haren) in order to reload their bullpen. 

Until then, you know where to find me. 

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Thanks For Nothing!: Fantasy Baseball’s Ten Biggest Busts of 2010

Sex and the City 2 and Jonah Hex have not been the only flops this summer. Fantasy baseball has had its fair share as well.  

We are more than two months into the 2010 baseball season, so its not too early to label certain superstars as busts. Sure, they could turn things around. They could play phenomenally from here on out and salvage their seasons, but right now they are giving their fantasy owners ulcers every time they go 0-for-4, blow a save, or get torched for seven runs in four innings.   

Here are the ten biggest busts in fantasy baseball!

Jason Bay, New York Mets

The Mets needed to keep up with the Yankees in the big-ticket item department, plus they needed outfield pop because they knew Carlos Beltran was going to miss the first half of the season. So they inked Bay, who had hit 30-plus homers and driven in 100-plus runs in four of the last five seasons. Smart move, right?

Wrong. Even though Bay has dealt with intense media scrutiny before (in Boston) and hitting in a pitcher’s ballpark (in Pittsburgh) during his career, he has been swinging like a lost soul all season. 

With only four homers and 29 RBI at this point, his chances of another 30-HR, 100-RBI campaign are slimmer than a Slim Jim.  At least Bay has been kind enough to steal (10 SB) and walk (.378 OBP) in lieu of hitting homers.    

Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs

The knock on Ramirez with fantasy owners has always been that he is injury-prone.  Getting 162 games out of him is harder than getting Mark Teixeira to take a day off. But at least when Ramirez was on the field he was as productive as any third baseman around, capable of hitting .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBI when 100 percent healthy.

Now Ramirez is injured AND hitting .162. He has actually increased his fantasy value by going on the disabled list. Here is a stat that should make you feel warm and fuzzy about him — in 47 games, Ramirez has been 0-for-3, 0-for-4, or 0-for-5 a grand total of 18 times. He also went 0-for-6 once, too. 


Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers

Fantasy owners knew that sooner or later “Father Time” was going to throw Hoffman a curve of his own. What we didn’t know was that the curve was going to drop off the table like Barry Zito’s used to during his Oakland glory days.

Hoffman has gone from premier closer to premier failure in record time. After staving off old age with 37 saves and a 1.83 ERA in 2009, he has five saves, five blown saves, and a 9.00 ERA. He is now used in as many crucial late-game situations as Oliver Perez.


Chad Qualls, Arizona Diamondbacks

You know you are having trouble when Aaron Heilman is picked to save games over you.  Qualls made the transition from setup man to closer late last year and did quite well, but it looks like he was a one-hit wonder like The Baja Men.  

Qualls has an 8.87 ERA, a 2.27 WHIP, and more people after him than BP. He could very well get his closer job back eventually if he straightens out and Heilman falls to pieces, but for now it is nothing but non-save situations for him in the near future. 


Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals

Greinke has gone from Cy Young to Anthony Young in less than one year. The poor guy had to post a 2.16 ERA last season just to win 16 games, so you knew there would be trouble for his win-loss record if he had the nerve to have a mortal 3.94 ERA.    

No run support, no defense, no miracles.  That has translated into a 2-8 record for Greinke, despite ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts numbers that should get him a winning record.  Figure this out — Chicago White Sox starter Freddy Garcia has a much worse ERA and WHIP, yet he is 8-3.

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

Fantasy baseball’s largest vegetarian is eating more lettuce than driving in runs these days. His 27 RBI do not even rank him in the top 100 in the category as he trails lightweights like Yuniesky Betancourt, Juan Uribe, and Clint Barmes.  Jonny Gomes has almost driven in twice as many runs. 

Yes, Jonny Gomes.  

Is it that Corey Hart keeps knocking in all of the runners on base before Fielder comes to bat, leaving the porky power hitter with no RBI opportunities? No, Fielder has just not come up as huge as he did in 2009 when he racked up 141 ribbies. An RBI streak could be on the way knowing him, but for now Fielder is putting up the kind of stats Gaby Sanchez owners would be happy with, not Fielder owners.    


Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox

Changing positions can sometimes be a bigger distraction than having Lady Gaga sitting in the stands.  hat seems to be the case with Beckham, who looked destined to win several batting titles throughout his career, but now will be lucky to stay in the majors throughout the year.   

The former first-rounder has been sidelined by a sophomore slump that has kept him around the Mendoza line all season long. Moving from third base to second base seems like it has done more harm for his bat than good for his glove. Fantasy owners can only hope that a batting coach, family friend, or rotisserie god from above can solve the Beckham riddle and get him back pasting line drives again.   


Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

This was supposed to be the season Kinsler challenged Chase Utley to be the most valuable second baseman in fantasy baseball. But while Utley has left the door open for Kinsler to take the title, Kinsler has fumbled it worse than Adrian Peterson would.

Kinsler, coming off a 31HR/31SB superstar season, has one homer and six steals so far.  Some of this has to do with his early season injuries and some of this has to do with him not hitting for power and not attempting to steal much. Kinsler might not still be 100 percent healthy, and he might be still shaking off some spring rust, but it certainly would be nice if his name started appearing more often in the HR and SB sections of the Texas boxscores.  

Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays

Here is another American League second baseman who went from being the next Jeff Kent to being the next Jeff Keppinger. Hill burst onto the fantasy scene last year with 35 homers, 108 RBI, and 103 runs. He was a feel good, Lifetime movie worthy story because of how he came back from a serious concussion that ruined his 2007 season.  

And now Hill is hitting .187.  

The power stroke is still kinda there (ten homers) and Hill has been kinda hitting better this month (.211 average in June). Still, .187 is .187. That will single handedly ruin a fantasy team’s batting average. You need a couple Joe Mauers in your lineup to even Hill’s average out. And you cannot rely on Hill’s track record to think he will bounce back because he has only had one great season in five-plus years.  


Nate McLouth, Atlanta Braves

Remember when Pittsburgh Pirates fans were rioting in the streets when McLouth was traded to Atlanta in the middle of last season?  You would have thought Sidney Crosby had been dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for a bunch of draft picks and pucks with the way people reacted.  

McLouth has hit like someone in serious need of glasses. He has a .176 batting average, and before he can turn things around and climb towards the .200 plateau, he first has to get off the disabled list. He is suffering from post-concussion symptoms after an outfield collision.  

McLouth is a 20-HR/20-SB guy when his mind and body are right.  The problem is we don’t know when both will be right again.  It may not be until 2011 (or ever) the way things are going.

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