Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins have signed right-handed reliever Chad Qualls to a minor league contract. The deal includes a spring training invite.
Qualls, 34, posted a 5.33 ERA and 27/14 K/BB ratio over 52 1/3 innings last season between the Phillies, Yankees and Pirates. He still induces plenty of grounders, but his strikeout rate has declined in four consecutive seasons.
There isn’t much upside to be had, but with little experience in the Marlins’ bullpen beyond Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn, Qualls should be in fine position for a roster spot if he has a solid spring.
In a less-notable move on Friday, the Rays acquired right-hander Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for minor league right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A’s on Wednesday.
This is the second trade involving the righty since the start of the season. The Athletics acquired 28-year-old Font from the Dodgers in late April, but were underwhelmed by his performance after he racked up 11 runs, five home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts in his first 6 2/3 innings of relief. While the rookie has yet to prove himself at the big league level, he posted a much more respectable pitching line with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, going 10-8 in 25 starts with a 3.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 in 134 1/3 innings. It’s still unclear whether the Rays intend to give him another opportunity in the majors this year or use him as depth in the minors.
Bayer, 24, is still a ways away from cracking any major league roster. He advanced to High-A Charlotte prior to the trade and allowed eight runs, two homers, six walks and six strikeouts in his first four innings.