Following two serviceable years out of the Astros bullpen, Chad Qualls inked a two-year deal with the Rockies, who aimed to shore up their shaky relief corps. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, as the veteran reliever posted his worst numbers since 2012. Like most Rockies pitchers, he was gashed by the Coors Field effect (7.43 ERA, 1.88 WHIP at home), but his numbers on the road weren't exactly anything to call home about, either. The right-hander also saw a regression in his K:BB thanks to a lowly 6.06 K/9 despite maintaining solid control throughout the season. At 38 years old, Qualls seems to be on the decline, as he lost 1.2 mph on his average fastball velocity and had a terribly high .351 BABIP for a pitcher who doesn't strike out too many hitters. Considering the Rockies have some younger (and more talented) options knocking on the door of the major leagues, Qualls will likely spend his 14th big league season in a low-leverage role.
Qualls (forearm) was able to throw off flat ground Monday, Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post reports. With Opening Day less than two weeks away and Qualls having yet to receive clearance for mound work, it's looking increasing likely that he'll be forced to the DL to begin the season while he continues to recover from right forearm soreness. Qualls is far down the pecking order for closing duties and won't warrant interest even in most NL-only leagues after compiling a 5.23 ERA, 1.59 WHIP and 22:9 K:BB ratio in 32.2 innings last season.
Qualls, who hasn't pitched since March 1 due to forearm tightness, expects to resume throwing Monday, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. The veteran reliever pitched in two Cactus League games earlier this spring, but he reportedly felt his forearm tighten up following the second outing. Regardless, it seems as if his status is improving with each day, but a timetable for his return to game action should come forth as he begins to ramp up his throwing again.
Qualls is completely healthy heading into spring training, although there's no guarantee that he'll stick on the major league roster out of spring training, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. New manager Bud Black attributes much of Qualls' 2016 struggles to injury woes, although the only thing really working in the veteran reliever's favor at this point is a wealth of major league service time. Now 38 years old, Qualls will need to prove that he can continue to get big league hitters out during spring training in order to maintain his role in Colorado's relief corps, especially now that veterans Greg Holland and Mike Dunn, as well as younger incumbents like Miguel Castro, Scott Oberg and Carlos Estevez all vying for major league innings.
Qualls (illness) was activated from the 15-day DL on Friday. Qualls last pitched for the club on July 15. He sports just a 5.61 ERA on the season. Carlos Estevez was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Qualls reportedly lost 16 points while he dealt with a stomach ailment, but he is feeling well again.
Qualls (illness) will commence a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday, the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders reports. He apparently lost 16 pounds due to the stomach ailment, but is feeling fine now, and will work to return to the Rockies, perhaps as soon as late next week. The Rockies are now on their third closer of the season (Adam Ottavino), but Qualls should return to a middle relief role when healthy.