MLB Network baseball insider Peter Gammons reported Tuesday morning that reliever, Chad Qualls of the Houston Astros was claimed off of revocable waivers by the Detroit Tigers.
No surprise Detroit claimed Qualls
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) August 26, 2014
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that Qualls had been claimed by an unnamed club less than one day prior to the news.
#Astros’ Qualls claimed on waivers, per source. Unclear whether team would move him. Must be traded, let go or pulled back by Wednesday.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 25, 2014
The Tigers’ were rumored to be the unnamed club, for obvious reasons.
The Tigers were originally linked to the 36-year-old Astros closer two months ago, when they began their search for bullpen help prior to the July 31, MLB trade deadline. He has 3.07 ERA with 14 saves and a 1.16 WHIP in 44 innings pitched this season with Houston.
There is however no guarantee that Qualls will end up with the Tigers. In fact, there is a strong possibility that the Astros will pull Qualls off of the waivers, rather than trade him.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, has previously indicated that he would like Qualls back in Houston for the 2015 season and that he would be hesitant to trade the veteran right-hander.
“I hesitate to use the word ‘untouchable,’ but he likes it here, he’s comfortable here and he’s pitching well,” Luhnow told MLB.com. “To have a guy who’s capable of pitching late in the game, in close games, we’re going to have opportunity going forward. This is a team that’s improving, and as the team improves, you have more save opportunities, more opportunities to pitch at the end of close games. We need more Chad Qualls. We don’t need less.”
Qualls would of course be a welcomed addition to the Tigers pitching staff and would likely serve as the team’s primary seventh-inning setup man behind Joba Chamberlain and closer Joe Nathan if brought in. Joakim Soria, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers for this purpose, has been sidelined with a left oblique strain.
The Astros signed Qualls to a two-year, $5.95 million contract this past offseason, and he is set to earn $3 million next season. They also hold a $3.5 million club option for 2016 with a $250K buyout.
If Houston decides that they want to pull Qualls back, they will then be unable to trade him until the offseason unless they pass him through irrevocable trade waivers, meaning he can’t be pulled back if claimed.