Astros Pull Back Chad Qualls

WEDNESDAY, 8:24pm: With the period for a deal expiring, and Qualls still with Houston, the obvious conclusion is that the Astros failed to work out a deal with Detroit and have revoked the waiver request.’s Brian McTaggart confirms that Qualls will in fact stay put.

8:18am: A trade is looking increasingly unlikely, writes’s Jason Beck. Between Qualls’ highly affordable contract and his desire to play out his contract and retire as an Astro, there’s little motivation to deal him. Beck reports that the Astros recently had a pro scout watching Detroit’s Double-A team, which includes prospects such as Steven Moya, Devon Travis and Angel Nesbitt, all of whom could be of interest to Houston. However, Detroit already parted with top prospects Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson in the Joakim Soria trade, and the team is reluctant to deal more well-regarded prospects for another reliever.

Asked about the waiver claim, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus (who caught Qualls for four years from 2004-07) told Beck: “I don’t think there’s anything to talk about. As far as I know, Tigers baseball stance, there’s really nothing to it.”

TUESDAY: Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons reports that the Tigers were awarded the claim on Qualls (Twitter link). As he notes, it’s hardly surprising that Detroit placed a claim, though it’s at least mildly surprising that the Yankees, who had waiver priority and have been aggressively claiming players, neglected to go after Qualls.

The Tigers have had bullpen issues all season, with Joe Nathan struggling at the back of the bullpen and deadline acquisition Joakim Soria hitting the disabled list with an injury earlier this month. Qualls would provide a solid late-inning option for the Tigers and could serve as a low-cost 2015 replacement for Joba Chamberlain, should the setup man find a new home as a free agent after a strong season in Detroit.

MONDAY, 9:00pm:’s Brian McTaggart writes that it’s more likely that Qualls will be pulled off waivers than traded.

5:50pm: Astros right-hander Chad Qualls has been claimed on revocable waivers by an unnamed club, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). It’s not clear if the Astros are willing to move Qualls, but the Astros will have until Wednesday to work out a deal with the claiming club, Rosenthal adds.

Qualls, 36, signed a two-year, $5.95MM contract with the Astros in the offseason. He’s owed about $531K of his $2.7MM salary through the end of the year, plus a $3MM salary in 2015. His contract contains a $3.5MM salary for the 2016 season which comes with a $250K buyout, bringing his remaining guarantee to about $3.781MM through the end of next season.

The veteran ground-ball specialist has been excellent in 2014, posting a 3.07 ERA (and an identical 3.07 FIP) with 7.8 K/9, 1.0 BB/9 and a 56.7 percent ground-ball rate in 44 innings. He’s spent a good deal of time in the closer’s role this season as well, picking up 14 saves for manager Bo Porter.

Houston isn’t averse to trading its closer midseason, as the team pulled the trigger on a trade to send Jose Veras to the Tigers last summer. Somewhat coincidentally, the Tigers are a very likely candidate to have placed a claim on Qualls this season, given their need for bullpen help in a tight AL Central race. However, as Peter Gammons reported over the weekend (Twitter links), the Yankees are “claiming everyone” on waivers, so it’s possible that the Bombers placed a claim with the hope of working out a deal or at the very least blocking their Wild Card competitors from strengthening their bullpens. The Yankees would have waiver priority over the Tigers.

56 Responses to Astros Pull Back Chad Qualls Leave a Reply

  1. ROR1997 11 months ago

    Probably the Yanks. They’ve been claiming everybody appareny and could actually use him.

    • Alex Villas 11 months ago

      Qualls has been very efficient over the last two years. If the yankees were to acquire him, they should place him as close for struggling robertson.

      • sunshipballoons 11 months ago

        Robertson really hasn’t been bad lately, just a bad game or two pushing his numbers up. And if you consider Robertson to be struggling, look at Qualls’s recent games. Pick 10, 15, 20 games. Robertson is better than Qualls over any of those periods.

    • Melvin Mendoza, Jr. 11 months ago

      If it’s true that they’ve been claiming everyone, would it be considered collusion if every team decided to let all the players go and completely destroy their payroll?

      • Dynasty22 11 months ago

        Uh no. Plus the Yankees are probably claiming players that are cheap upgrades such as a Chad Qualls. I doubt they are claiming big contract players because they know that no one else will claim them.

  2. Jesus Gutierrez 11 months ago

    dodgers need relievers

    • Steve Adams 11 months ago

      Can’t see Qualls passing through the entire American League and almost all of the National League to fall to the Dodgers in the waiver order.

  3. Alex Villas 11 months ago

    dodgers got violated by the mets, they need an extra bat or pitcher

    • Matt 11 months ago

      still took 2 of 3 from them. yesterday was a lost cause from the beginning because Correia blows

  4. TigerFan1968 11 months ago

    another example of why this revocable waiver rule serves no useful purpose. It is mainly a blocking exercise by the other teams.

  5. Justin 11 months ago

    Blue Jays 100%

  6. dave 11 months ago

    Cardinals 100%

  7. hozie007 11 months ago

    Tigers got him….now they’re trying to figure who is tradable…

  8. TigerFan1968 11 months ago

    Obviously a tweak is needed to the revocable waiver rule with teams like the Yankees blocking every one of them. Allow a team to make only two or three revocable waivers that do not result in a deal. After that a team like the Yankees would have to get out of the way. This revocable waiver thing has become a joke. Expect more of this in the last few days of August.

    • Does it change knowing that your team was awarded the claim instead of the Yankees?

      A tweak like that would break the whole waiver system. Teams put players on waives that they don’t necessarily want to trade. If those players are claimed and a deal can’t be worked out, it’s not really the claiming team’s fault.

      • TigerFan1968 11 months ago

        I usually agree with most of your comments. Are you suggesting no change is needed? Right now the process is like an 8 move deep chess puzzle.

        • I think the situation is made worse by the second Wild Card which creates an overly stagnant environment until the last few days of the deadline. But I’m not in favor of extending the deadline.

          It isn’t a perfect system. But it’s not designed to fix holes completely. The playoffs are a month away. I don’t like changes that make it easier for a team to compete in October with acquisitions that didn’t really get them there in the first place. The major waiver contributors are few and far between.

  9. bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

    Both Gammons and Rosenthal confirm that it is the Tigers.

    What would it take to get Qualls?

    IMO: Robbie Ray.

    [QUESTION: Can Ray even be traded in a situation like this… or does it HAVE to be non-40 man roster players only?]

    However, Dave Dombrowski’s ego may prevent that deal. It may depend on the health of Anibal Sanchez. They cannot have random minor league pitchers giving up 10+ runs too much more. Perhaps there is a way to get a pitcher back from Houston that is better than Ray is right now (not hard).

    • Ray would have to have cleared waivers as well. If he’s blocked, I think they can still work a deal, but he would have to be a PTBNL at the end of the season.

      • robbyb 11 months ago

        Thanks for clarification. Was wondering the same in other situations.

      • bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

        What would be a fair and “do-able” deal given the timing… RevMurph?

        • I’d say Ray is fair given that an overpay is needed at this point and Qualls is under contract for next year. Astros need incentive to give him up.

          • bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

            Would Ray for Uehara have worked? …. With the Red Sox giving Koji the same “we will talk with you in November” speech as they did with Lester?

          • Doubtful. I don’t think that much of Ray and he wouldn’t have gotten the extended look he would need in Boston. I’m not really impressed with the way Boston’s handled Uehara though.

          • bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

            Qualls is a better deal anyway for the Tigers with at least next year and possibly 2016 as well.

          • If I were the Tigers, I’d rather have Uehara. I’m not sure why he’s still on the Sox though.

    • Hoosierdaddy92 11 months ago

      There’s no way Dombrowski essentially trades Doug Fister for Chad Qualls.

  10. robbyb 11 months ago

    Non Yankee news?

  11. Hoosierdaddy92 11 months ago

    No more Texas relievers DD! Veras, Nathan, Soria. We never win these deals

    • bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

      Veras was fine. Soria should be OK as well after he comes back. Papa Grande was a solid closer for multiple seasons as well (from Houston)… including having a perfect save record one year.

      • Mr Pike 11 months ago

        Vera’s was not fine after Labor Day. That’s why his option wasn’t picked up.

      • Troy 11 months ago

        Even in the 49 for 49 save Papa Grande gave up runs when he came in with the lead or when the other team had the lead. He made ever one of the saves a “Todd Jones” save. He was not a shut down closer. Varas was ok. Soria I was really excited for and still think he will turn it around. I hope we pick up his option.

        • Mr Pike 11 months ago

          While I agree with everything you said, 49 for 49 is still 49 for 49. If Nathan could only be that bad, the Tigers would have a three game lead.

      • Hoosierdaddy92 11 months ago

        Hope you are right about Soria. I know it’s too early to tell on that one. But all the others (Veras, Papa Grande, Joe Nathan) were largely more busts than steals. Considering what we gave up for each of them. Surrendering their1st Round draft pick to sign Valverde. Danry Vazquez for Jose Veras. And we basically spent a good portion of the money we would have needed to spend on Fister or resigning Scherzer for Joe Nathan.

  12. Klaus D. 11 months ago

    Hey Detroit, if you need a bullpen piece, please take Paps from Philly! Phillies will pick up majority of salary.

    • I highly doubt they’d take on a majority. 20% maybe, though Amaro has yet to show us that he’s actually willing to eat money.

      • NotCanon 11 months ago

        I’m with you on the percentage, and that’s pretty much what it should be, unless the other team is going to give up a top prospect.

        However, the reticence to eat money on trades predates Amaro’s tenure by 3 years.

        • I agree with that. Amaro had just said in the Spring that he’d eat money in trades and I haven’t seen a single thing to suggest that might be true. There’s conflicting reports on maybe 10 million on Hamels’ deal, but that’s about it.

          • NotCanon 11 months ago

            Considering how ownership has been terrified of eating anything significant ever since Thome in 2005, I would think simply allowing Amaro to say that they could eat salary is a noticeable change in policy.

            Is it enough of one to indicate that it’s actually true? Tough to say. But that alone is a sea change.

          • It could be. Or Amaro’s just posturing to the media.

    • bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

      The Tigers have had it with CWAs (Closers with Attitude). Nathan’s meltdown v. Tigers fans in Comerica, arguably, was a major catalyst for their recent poor play.

  13. bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

    Feldman and Qualls for Robbie Ray? … Forgot about Feldman. Would eat innings while Verlander and Sanchez get back to 100%.

    In theory, they could even rest Verlander or Sanchez for 15-20 more days and give Feldman three of their starts… so one of them is more fresh for the post season (hopefully).

    • hozie007 11 months ago

      I doubt the Tigers will let Ray go…he’s not fully developed and they will need him when Scherzer leaves and Price rejects an extension offer.

      • bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

        One other idea:

        Nathan (Tigers pay his 2015 salary: $10MM+) + 1-2 prospects

        for Qualls and Feldman (Tigers pay his 2015 and 2016 salary, $20MM+).

        Tigers eat $30MM+ to make this deal work.

        • JacksTigers 11 months ago

          Dude, nobody is giving up anything of value for Nathan. It’s not happening. No chance. Not even a little.

  14. hozie007 11 months ago

    I thought the Tigers should have gone after Qualls last winter when he was a free agent. I guess this works out better for them since they didn’t have to pay his salary for the first 2/3 of the season and get him heading into to a pennant race.

    • stl_cards16 11 months ago

      Now it will cost them a prospect if they want him.

    • Barry2 11 months ago

      I like Qualls too, get the job done DD unless they want the farm.

  15. Guest 11 months ago

    do y’all do research? qualls is signed through 15 with a team option for 16.

  16. bobbleheadguru 11 months ago

    Anibal Sanchez had pain today in his throwing session. Expressed concern about returning AT ALL this year.

    Terrible news.

    Tigers should try to get BOTH Feldman and Qualls at this point. Likely exactly what Dombrowski is doing right now.

    Because of Feldman’s performance/salary ratio:

    Feldman + Qualls < Just Qualls … in terms of trade value.

  17. Klaus D. 11 months ago

    I do understand the Tigers’ reluctance to trade for yet another reliever, but at the same time, I feel like their window is starting to close. If they have any sort of similar feeling, they should probably make a trade and go all in. I’m not just saying that because I want them to take Papelbon. They should get whoever they feel is a good fit. A good closer really can make a difference in the playoffs because teams generally use them more than in the regular season. In 2009, the Phils had Lidge who had one of his worst years ever. To the point they had to use him sparingly in the playoffs. In the World Series, they used him once in game 4, which he proceeded to lose by giving up 3 runs in the 9th. Now it wasn’t a save situation (he came in to a tie game). But had the Phillies won that game it would’ve tied the series at 2 games a piece. The series would’ve gone to 7 games and who knows what could’ve happened. I realize I’m speaking in hypotheticals, but it’s worth thinking about if I were Detroit. On the flip side, Lidge’s completely dominating season, including 7 post season saves, in 2008 was a huge part of them winning it all.

  18. tune-in for baseball 11 months ago

    I am not sure how urgent the Tigers are in getting another reliever. I also do not know how much “back room dealing” is done with these trades. If they have to get someone, I have an outside the box idea that depends on the “honor system” with Philly’s Amaro. I do not know much about him other than what is said here so I will give him the benefit of doubt. How about the Tigers get Papelbon and all of his contract plus a “player to be named later” for two position players from a list provided by the Tigers. The “player to be named later” is Ben Revere. Philly probably is not going to contend during the life of Paps contract so why not.

  19. Mike1L 11 months ago

    The statement that the Yankees are aggressively claiming nearly everyone has appeared over and over, but it seems to be based on second hand info. Anything hard on any teams making claims? That would be more useful than simply a journalist repeating what he may have heard or thought. Might make a good article if we could see all the claims.

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