The Philadelphia Phillies designated Chad Qualls for assignment Thursday, leaving St. Louis Cardinals fans desperate for relief help wondering aloud about a guy whose strikeout rate has fallen around five per nine innigs, and who allowed seven home runs in 31 innings for the Phillies in 2012. Don't get me wrong, though--now that he's not striking anybody out, the grounder-heavy Qualls makes perfect sense as an inexplicable Cardinals reclamation project!
If the name sounds familiar, you probably remember Chad Qualls from his time in the Houston Astros' outstanding bullpens of the mid-aughts. He was part of the big three of the 2005 model, behind Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler, and made Octavio Dotel expendable back in 2004. Now 33, he spent a year as the Diamondbacks' closer and reemerged after a year in the wilderness as a respectable groundball-heavy reliever for the Padres in 2011.
I think he'll land somewhere, and the Cardinals are as good a bet as any, but I don't think Chad Qualls is going to be the answer to many of the questions we have about the bullpen as it exists right now.