Mets inquire on free agent reliever Chad Qualls

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Mets have inquired about free agent reliever Chad Qualls.

Qualls posted a 3.51 ERA and 43/20 K/BB ratio over 74 1/3 innings with the Padres this season. The 33-year-old right-hander enjoyed most of his success at the spacious PETCO Park, posting a 2.09 ERA at home compared to an ugly 5.05 ERA on the road.

The Mets are weighing a wide variety of low-cost bounceback types for the back-end of their bullpen, including Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, but considering that Qualls’ strikeout rate has declined over the past two seasons and he was a disaster as Arizona’s closer in 2010, he’s probably better suited to a seventh or eighth-inning role at this point.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.