FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Astros closer Chad Qualls has been claimed off revocable waivers by an unidentified team.
It’s unclear whether the Astros actually intend to deal Qualls, but Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow indicated last month that he would have to be overwhelmed. Either way, they have until Wednesday to make a decision. They can trade him to the claiming team, let him go to the claiming team for nothing (which is highly unlikely), or simply pull him back. Of course, if he’s pulled back, he’s ineligible to be traded for the rest of the season.
Qualls has quietly been very effective as Houston’s closer this season, posting a 3.07 ERA and 38/5 K/BB ratio over 44 innings while going 14-for-17 in save opportunities. The 36-year-old is owed $3 million next season and his contract includes a $3.5 million club option for 2016, which looks like a nice bargain at the moment. Still, the Astros could potentially sell high and get a nice prospect or two in return from a contender.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.