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Astros sign reliever Chad Qualls to a two-year contract

Dec 7, 2013, 4:56 PM EDT

Chad Qualls Getty Getty Images

One day after inking right-handed starter Scott Feldman to a three-year, $30 million contract, the Astros have signed veteran reliever Chad Qualls to a two-year deal with a club option for 2016. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Qualls will make $6 million guaranteed in the deal while the option is worth $3.5 million.

Qualls, 35, is coming off a solid season with the Marlins in which he posted a 2.61 ERA and 49/19 K/BB ratio over 62 innings, mostly in a set-up capacity. He posted his highest strikeout rate since 2010 while his 63.3 percent ground ball rate was the highest of his 10-year career. Though let’s be honest, he made more news for doing this than anything he did on the mound.

Qualls was originally drafted by the Astros in 2000 and spent his first four major league seasons with the club. He’s a curious fit for a team which isn’t anywhere close to contention, but the club’s recent activity should keep the MLBPA off their backs and Qualls might even get a chance to close games given how unsettled they are in their bullpen.

UPDATE: According to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said that Qualls isn’t confirmed to be the closer yet and that the club could still add another reliever.

  1. NatsLady - Dec 7, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Don’t any of these GMs have to get on an airplane or something?

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 7, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    At least the Astros are now spending some money.

  3. Bob - Dec 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    “At least the Astros are now spending some money.”

    One thing to spend it, another to spend it wisely.

    Last year was a fluke. Qualls has always good unless there are men on base. Ugh. Hell, why didn’t we just bring back Mike Gallo and Hector Ambriz. Geez.

  4. eaglesfan723 - Dec 7, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    How does this dude keep getting a job, he’s washed up and teams continue to throw millions at the guy.

    • Old Gator - Dec 7, 2013 at 11:08 PM

      By having seasons like the last one. Did you happen to read the stats above?

      • stex52 - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        You tell’em Gator! This is a great deal! This is……………Wait! It’s not 2008 anymore!

  5. stex52 - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    On a more serious note, DJ, I don’t think your analysis makes a lot of sense. They don’t have any kind of relief staff ready in the minors for another couple of years and they need somebody that gives them some hope of holding a lead. The relief staff was stated to be a priority. Would it make more sense on this team to be paying for a Benoit or a Nathan or a Wilson?

    In this crazy market 3MM$/yr for a set up man who may close is not out of bounds.

    Not that I like the deal tremendously, but most other deals look worse.

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