Tampa Bay Rays Acquire Chad Qualls for a Player to be Named Later

Earlier this week I wrote on the Chad Qualls rumor, concluding with this:

That doesn’t excuse all of Qualls’ struggles, but given his history, he’s worth a roster spot if the Diamondbacks are overburdened with his modest salary. Considering what they just did with Dan Haren, Qualls may cost nothing but a song and assurance that the Rays will pick up the tab.

Today, the Rays have acquired Qualls for a player to be named later and the guarantee that they will assume the reminder of his salary (about $1.5 million). This move fits everything you’ve come to expect from Arizona this week. It’s a salary dump of a player who would not bring back a draft pick compensation nor anything worthwhile on the prospect front. I don’t particularly blame them in this case. Their bullpen is a nightmare whether Qualls stays or departs; at the same time I wouldn’t expect too much from the PTBNL.

As for the Rays’ side; the hope here is that placing Qualls in a pitching environment — backed by one of the finest defenses, a slight pitcher friendly stadium, and one of the best bullpen managers in the game — will turn his season around. His FIP and xFIP are fine and the inflated ERA is a result of 38 innings. When we talk about starting pitching early in the season, we always note how 50 innings means the data is far too granular to make any widesweeping assumptions. Take that and apply it twice over to relief pitching. We’re 60% through the season and he’s got fewer innings than James Shields racks up on a monthly basis.

Trust the projection systems and the scouts here. He should be fine.

The corresponding move hasn’t been announced but my guess is that Andy Sonnanstine will be sent down. That allows Lance Cormier to stay in the organization while Sonnanstine gets work (he last pitched 13 days ago. It also means Cormier would move back to his long reliever role.

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