The Houston Astros make their first move of the offseason like a warning shot to any other players. The Astros declined to pick up the $3.5 team option on reliever Chad Qualls for the 2016 season according to the Astros Twitter handle. The writing was on the wall for Qualls, as he was left off the ALDS roster for Preston Tucker or Josh Fields, depending on how you look at it. Even though it is not a bold statement, I wrote that Qualls was not going to return here and looked deeper into his omission from the playoff roster here.
With the Astros seeking to compete for the 2016 World Series, they will need to sign some free agents and make some trades. So open 40-man roster spots will be necessary for the Astros to improve their team. I wrote earlier today that Astros will have to activate the 60-day DL players by Friday. Then they will have to add some players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule V draft on December 10th.
Qualls is the first of many Astros players who will be weeded out of the Astros 40-man roster in the name of progress. This post will mark the beginning of a series of posts looking at particular players and if they deserve to remain on the 40-man roster, and we will pick one player who will take that roster spot. We will call this series, Weeding out the 40-man Roster.
Remember, just because we see these players as weeds does not mean someone else will not see them as flowers.
Why was Qualls weeded out?
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Qualls was a big signing by the Astros two years ago, but did Luhnow sense that he would only get two good years out of Qualls by only doing two years guaranteed? Luhnow prides himself on being able to predict a player’s value down the road, and he appears to have judged this one correctly. Qualls had an up and down season, including apparently pitching while he was hurt, which hurt the club a little.
When he returned from the DL, he was effective for a while but fell apart again in September. This collapse at the end of the season set the stage for him not being included on the ALDS roster. While Qualls is not done with baseball and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind returning to the Astros, but I think he will test the market. If there is mutual interest, then I can see him returning on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
For a more detailed look at Qualls, read the two posts below.
But for now, that is one less roster spot is taken and $3.5 million more to spend elsewhere. The Qualls-Astros reunion is over, time to move on to a flame-throwing reliever instead of the sinking ball pitcher Qualls.