Yesterday Chad Qualls was claimed off revocable waivers by an unidentified team. Today the team has been identified: the Detroit Tigers.
Qualls has posted a 3.07 ERA and 38/5 K/BB ratio over 44 innings while going 14-for-17 in save opportunities. He’s under contract for $3 million next season and there’s a $3.5 million club option. It’s doubtful, however, that the Astros would simply let him go on waivers, and they are on record saying that it would take a nice haul in return for them to let him go.
The Tigers, of course, have perpetual bullpen problems and have decided that throwing anyone who has ever sniffed the eighth or ninth inning at the problem is the best way to solve it. It may be the only way for them solve it, actually, although it’s unclear whether they have anything Houston wants in return.
The teams have until sometime tomorrow to complete a trade. Though the Astros could, of course, pull Qualls off waivers at any time.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.