Assessing the players: Chad Qualls
Time to assess another bullpen pitcher, this time it is the “sinker ball” pitcher, Chad Qualls. The Rays went out at the trade deadline after promising to make a move to help better the club for the playoffs, but instead they traded for Qualls from Arizona. The sinker ball pitcher was a bad pickup and he failed multiple times during the season. So let’s take a closer look at the numbers behind the Rays bad trade.
Qualls finished the season with a record of 3-4, an ERA of 5.57 (with the Rays), and opponents hit .293 against him. He also pitched 21 innings for the Rays, giving up 24 hits, including 2 home runs. His numbers were even worse in Arizona where he had no offense to help back him up.
Qualls is a sinker ball pitcher, meaning he throws the pitch in order to get ground outs and turn double plays. He is suppose to be a pitcher that you can bring in during an inning with runners on base and get out of the inning without any damage. Problem is, Qualls’s sinker ball doesn’t sink anymore. Qualls struggled all season to keep his pitches down and often left them in the heart of the plate. His fastball tops out at 90 on a good day, so he doesn’t not have the velocity to get it by the batters, instead he needs location.
Qualls is a free agent too and it doesn’t appear that the Rays are pursuing him at the moment. Maddon trusted Qualls and tried to use him in “situations” where the rays needed two outs, but this often backfired and cost the Rays games all the time. Qualls was simply a bad trade. Final grade: D –