The bullpen shuffle: the Phillies designate Chad Qualls for assignment, option Joe Savery

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The Phillies bullpen is a hot mess, and two of the messier parts of it have been Chad Qualls and Joe Savery.  They gone now, however, as the team has DFA’d Qualls and has optioned Savery to Lehigh Valley.

Qualls has a 4.60 ERA and has allowed 39 hits in 31 and a third innings. Savery has been worse, sporting a 5.87 ERA and has allowed 26 hits and seven walks in 23 innings. And whether this is cause or effect, the fact is that the Phillies were 0-17 in games in which Savery pitched this year.

In their place, the Phils have called up lefty reliever Jeremy Horst and righty Brian Sanches. Sanches was part of the hot mess brigade earlier this season for Philly, but he has been much better since he’s been down at triple-A and has apparently earned a second chance. Horst has been even better, posting an ERA of 2.11 in 38 and a third innings for the Iron Pigs.

Rearranging deck chairs? Eh, maybe. But sometimes that works with bullpens.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.