The Rockies have announced a series of interesting transactions. Reliever Chad Qualls was designated for assignment, making way for the return of top righty Jon Gray from the DL. And veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan was recalled, with Tom Murphy optioned back to Triple-A.
It’s not terribly surprising to hear that the Rockies are moving on from Qualls. The 39-year-old has produced a typically strong 57.4% groundball rate on the year, but has managed just 5.9 K/9 to go with 2.7 BB/9. He has coughed up 1.6 home runs per nine, helping to explain his ugly 5.40 ERA.
That said, there are some signs that there could be something left in the tank. Qualls is still generating a 10.3% whiff rate and has probably been somewhat unlucky only to strand 61.8% of opposing baserunners.
Still, there’s little denying that Qualls has fallen shy of hopes since arriving in Colorado on a two-year, $6MM deal. (Fellow veteran Jason Motte followed a similar course.) It seems unlikely any rival organizations will take over the rest of the $3.25MM total that Qualls is owed this year. The Rockies will pay the remainder unless they are able to find a team that will take some cash in a trade or Qualls makes it to the majors elsewhere after signing a minors deal (in which case he’d earn a pro-rated portion of the league-minimum salary from his new team).
Gray, meanwhile, will hope to provide a much-needed boost to a Rockies team that has dropped eight straight ballgames. He has only managed three starts this year, exiting the last of those with what proved to be a stress fracture in his left foot. The prized righty has been sharp in his rehab outings and returns with big expectations.
Meanwhile, the Rox effectively reversed the move they made a few weeks ago in activating Murphy from the DL. The 26-year-old, considered quite a talented hitter for his position, is off to a miserable 1-for-22 start to the season. While Hanigan doesn’t offer nearly the same offensive ability, the veteran will hopefully help to settle the pitching staff while allowing Murphy to work back into form at Albuquerque.