If there’s one guy in the majors who suffers from the Hugo Reyes AKA “Hurley Syndrome”, it’s Chad Qualls.
Even though he was seemingly doomed by the Baseball Gods in 2010, I believe he could be the perfect candidate for the vacant closer job with the Toronto Blue Jays.
At first glance of his peripheral 2010 statistics, one might assume Qualls had an off year. I would agree with that statement to an extent, but a better way of putting it is Chad Qualls had a very unlucky year.
We’re talking “Hurley from Lost” unlucky. Like play your favourite numbers in the lottery, curse yourself and everyone around you, and land on a freaky-ass island where they have to punch in those very same lottery numbers into a computer every 108 minutes unlucky.
Qualls had a BABIP of .399 in 2010, and that’s about as unlucky as you can get for a pitcher. His BABIP took the cake for pitchers who logged 40 or more innings.
Another upside to signing Chad Qualls is his durability. Since 2004, he’s only spent a total of 36 games on the disabled list. The only other free agent closer on the market who has spent less time in the DL is Kevin Gregg – who has a perfect attendance since 2004, by the way.
Of course, all of this all hinges on Chad Qualls declining arbitration from the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s a Type B free agent, which means the Blue Jays wouldn’t have to surrender a draft pick if they sign him.
Even if it’s not as the closer, Qualls brings some veteran experience to an otherwise inexperienced bullpen. Chad Qualls has 51 career saves under his belt and close to two full seasons experience in the closer role.
So I’ve talked about his previous merits and how 2010 was a down year for Chad Qualls, but let’s get down to what it would cost to bring this guy in to Toronto.
He made $4.85 million this past season on his contract delved out by the D-Backs and coming off a rocky 2010, I’d fathom he’d have a tough time commanding anything north of $3 million dollars for a one-year contract.
If anything, he’s a cheap arm in the bullpen and if Alex Anthopoulos plays his cards right and Qualls comes up big in the first half, AA can parlay Qualls into some prospects at the trade deadline.
Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch for the Blue Jays to sign Chad Qualls, but I’m going to admit it was the Hurley Bird that told me it was a good idea.