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The Astros are hesitant to trade Chad Qualls

Jul 24, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

Chad Qualls Getty Getty Images

The Astros are a rebuilding team who is out of contention, so on the surface, they don’t have much need for a veteran closer. However, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that he’s unlikely to move Chad Qualls before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

“I hesitate to use the word ‘untouchable,’ but he likes it here, he’s comfortable here and he’s pitching well,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “To have a guy who’s capable of pitching late in the game, in close games, we’re going to have opportunity going forward. This is a team that’s improving, and as the team improves, you have more save opportunities, more opportunities to pitch at the end of close games. We need more Chad Qualls. We don’t need less.”

Perhaps Luhnow is just posturing, but it’s easy to understand why he’s hesitant to deal him. Qualls is owed a little over $1 million for the rest of this season and $3 million in 2015 while his contract includes a $3.5 million club option for 2016 or a $250,000 buyout. The contract is an excellent value given the going rate of MLB closers, so the Astros would likely have to be overwhelmed to deal him.

Qualls has quietly enjoyed an excellent season with Houston, posting a 1.78 ERA and 31/4 K/BB ratio over 35 1/3 innings. He’s 11-for-13 in save chances.

  1. apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Nice pitcher – very reliable. Wish we could have kept him in Pittsburgh.

  2. elwaysagenius - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    The quote from Luhnow makes it seem like he thinks of Qualls as an actual person and not an asset. My world is being flipped upside down.

    • dan1111 - Jul 25, 2014 at 4:17 AM

      Of course, the Astros have the most trade leverage when it appears they don’t want to trade him. So maybe talking about Qualls like a person is a way of treating him as an asset.

      With Qualls having a career year, his value is never going to be higher than now. I have a hard time seeing how holding on to him makes sense.

  3. jss1330 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    This after asking for Mike Trout in return

  4. edelmanfanclub - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:37 AM

    I can’t imagine them not trading him if a good offer comes

  5. soundsofsuccess7 - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    The Astros need him for their playoff run!!

    • dan1111 - Jul 25, 2014 at 4:18 AM

      They only control him through 2016, so they need to give him a one-year extension if they want him closing World Series games.

  6. stupidusername - Jul 25, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    What Texas just got for Soria to be a setup man in Detroit you have to believe this is just posturing.

    There must be something about Houston with Qualls. Because what I remember of Qualls in Philadelphia and what I’ve seen of him this season it’s night and day. I actually remember thinking this guy had something with this heavy sinker. But then the season started and he was terrible and had a bad attitude on his way out. Brooksbaseball shows a difference in 2012 from 2010 with the vertical movement on his sinker, which in 2014 is back to 2010-form. Maybe he was hurt, maybe it’s just Houston. Good to see he got it figured out somewhere else. Hard to imagine his value could be any higher than it is today. Considering what Detroit just gave up Houston should be pretty happy about what they could get for Qualls.

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