Tigers unlikely to land Chad Qualls
The Tigers have until sometime later today to try to work out a deal with the Astros for Chad Qualls, whom they claimed on revocable waivers Monday. As of now, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to do it.
The growing belief is that the Astros are not inclined to move Qualls, much as they weren’t last month when he could be traded to any team without having to clear waivers. Between Qualls’ manageable contract that runs through next season with an option for 2016, and Qualls’ clear desire to stay in Houston, there’s not a lot of motivation.
“I don’t think there’s anything to talk about,” manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday. “As far as I know, Tigers baseball stance, there’s really nothing to it.”
The Tigers put in a claim for Qualls on Monday. Under terms of revocable waivers, the Astros have 48 hours (thus, until Wednesday) to work out a trade, pull Qualls back off waivers or let him go to the Tigers. The third option is a virtual certainty not to happen. Detroit must put together a deal, or Houston has to hold onto Qualls for the rest of the season.
The Tigers were interested in Qualls last month before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but the Astros were reticent to deal. The two teams worked out a deal last summer for the Astros’ previous closer, Jose Veras, in exchange for outfielder Danry Vasquez and pitcher David Paulino. With Qualls under a multi-year contract, rather than a rental, the Astros would be expected to seek more-advanced prospects.
Houston had a pro scout in Reading, Pa., while Double-A Erie was in town this past weekend. The SeaWolves have a selection of high-rising prospects, including slugging outfielder Steven Moya, gifted hitting infielder Devon Travis and reliever Angel Nesbitt.
However the Tigers — who parted with highly ranked prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel for Joakim Soria in July — appear unlikely to do the same for another reliever.
“I could have signed there in the offseason, and obviously they tried to trade for me at the Deadline, and with me being put on waivers, why wouldn’t they take another chance now?” Qualls told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “Yet again, nothing’s changed. I’m going to go to work as usual and do my thing.”
If anyone on the Tigers would know about Qualls, it’s Ausmus, who caught Qualls in Houston from 2004 to 2007. If there’s a deal brewing, however, it’s news to Ausmus.
“Waiver claims this time of year, they don’t really mean anything,” Ausmus said. “I know there’s been a lot said about it, but there’s really nothing that I know about, quite frankly, other than what I’ve read.
Said Qualls: “I’m sure he wants me. I think around the Trade Deadline there were some other guys that were getting traded and I was just messing around and he’s like, ‘Well, if you would have just signed here in the first place, we wouldn’t have to trade for anybody.’ Just typical Brad Ausmus. Like I said before, I want to stay here and be a Houston Astro until I retire.”
The 36-year-old Qualls is 14-for-17 in save chances in Houston to go with a 3.07 ERA, 46 hits and 38 strikeouts over 44 innings. He has walked just five batters this season, and two were intentional. The 11-year Major League veteran has been used to protect leads anywhere from the seventh to ninth innings, much like the role the Tigers had for Soria.