The Rebirth of Chad Qualls

 
 
People remarks all the time that sometimes, people need or deserve a second chance in life. That a bad situation or event should not taint or stain a reputation, or cause people to shy away from you or not consider you effective. And there is no better time for that period of renewal, or a second chance to set things right during a Major League Baseball season as when the Trade Deadline expires. And believe me fans, if anyone is thankful for the reversal of past deeds, it is new Tampa Bay Rays reliever Chad Qualls.

Qualls will again get to taste this magical potion that will start his reliever redemption and it all came with just changing his locker from a National League team to an American League squad. Instantly and with no regard to what Qualls had in his dark Arizona closet, with a bad April-June start, instantly all that rubbish and doubting is gone with a blink of the eye. And maybe that is the most unique thing about this time of year. Every Major League Baseball teams is searching for their own answers by seeking out players who could make a substantial contribution over the last third of a season, or maybe provide some added defense or a deceptive pitching performance to put their squad in contention down the stretch.

Something as simple as boosting the power of Rays Bullpen can produce a handful of needed wins that can be the difference between playing into late October, or making airline flight plans with the family to begin the long baseball off season. And if there is one guy that understands this totally after an unusual and often dismal start to his 2010 season, it is Chad Qualls. The right-hander leaves behind in the National League a .370 Opponent’s Batting Average, with a .390 average against left-handed hitters. Something any pitcher would give his non-pitching arm to reverse in a heartbeat.

 

Boosting Qualls want for redemption is the fact as late as last Tuesday, Qualls allowed 2 runs on 2 hits (1 HR ) in 2 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. Adding insult to Qualls open wounds, opponents have scored on Qualls in 5 of his last 7 games to produce a preposterous 11.74 ERA. Qualls has been victimized with 10 Earned Runs in his last 7 innings of work prior to his trade to Tampa Bay. More heart wrenching is the fact that since June 10th, Qualls has been scored on in 10 of his last 16 outings, despite a small reprieve from June 29-July 5th when he threw 4 scoreless innings. But there is a bright spot to all the doom and gloom forecasted already about Qualls 2010 season.


Qualls did convert is 50th career save in2010 season, plus he has converted 11 of his past 13 save appearances prior to his trade to the Rays. Amazing enough, since 2005, Qualls is in the Top five among all relievers in the Major Leagues in games and innings pitched. And is also in the Top Ten of all relievers in wins and holds. All categories that show that effectiveness has not eluded Qualls his entire MLB career.

 

So there is some firm foundation to provide Qualls with another change in a different locale, and with the recent Disabled List visit by Rays reliever Grant Balfour, Qualls might be in line to be the secondary “go-to” guy and assume Balfour’s usual set-up role. Balfour will be out until possibly September with an injury to his intercostals muscle group, which runs between the ribs and helps promote the breathing action. The injury was not obtained during a Rays contest, but during a playful “horsing around” session


Balfour sustained his injury as Balfour and Rays Pitching Coach Jim Hickey were roughhousing around during Batting Practice on Friday night, and both fell suddenly to the Field Turf. Since the Rays were facing a shortage of veteran experience in their minor league system, they decided to give Qualls a chance to erase the horrors of his miserable first half as a member of the Diamondbacks hoping that his latest chance with the Rays will not bring with Qualls any of his D-back nightmarish results that could rear its ugly head again and forsake the Rays for giving him a chance to start all over again in the American League.

 

Qualls has been given the grand opportunity to showcase himself over the rest of the Rays season to give adequate proof that his days as a questionable reliever are long gone. And that his new Rays reliever new image will emerge and show the confidence and productive nature needed for a chance at 2011 employment.

Second chances in sports do come, and if Qualls makes the most of his rebirth with the Rays, he could effectively salvage and possibly erase his horrid start to 2010 with a powerful and confirming last few months. And the magnitude of the overall situation is not lost on Qualls. Prior to Saturday night’s game against the New York Yankees, Qualls told the St. Petersburg Times,


“The majority of my text messages were, ‘Now you’ve got 0.00 ERA.’ That’s a great thing.”

 

Qualls has a clean slate, a chance to redeem himself and provide a solid answer to the Rays Bullpen over the course of the season. And with Qualls undoubtedly becoming a Free Agent at the end of the 2010 season, he could make a compelling case for someone to take another chance on him in 2011,maybe even the Rays But that is one of the glories of this time of year in Major League Baseball. Things can be erased and forgotten within a moment’s notice.

New beginnings can revitalize and reenergize a player to provide a solid performance for his new club. And a career once in peril can again be reborn brand new and full of hope and promise. Who says Christmas doesn’t come at the end of July?
 

10 Comments

Sometimes all a pitcher/player needs is a change of scenery.
But I do think pitching coaches have their respective effectiveness. He’s going to have to face one more batter in the AL with the DH but you guys have a very good coach that will make adjustments with Chad. I’d rather take my chances with Chad than I would Kerry Wood. Today’s rubber game should be a great watch. Have fun at the game Double R.
The pictures of the concert were terrific. Sounds like the TROP was appropriately HOT!
mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

So about this “horsing around” incident. Does either Balfour or Hickey get fined? I mean, wrestling or whatever they were doing doesn’t sound like a smart idea. But then there have been so many freak injuries this season – from celebrations at the plate to squelching a sneeze.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Mike,
I agree with some of that.
First off, Chad Qualls definitely needed a change of scenery. And he is a groundball pitcher, which works well with the Rays solid defense.
Secondly, hopefully Qualls works with someone other than Jim Hickey. His BS with Grant Balfour should have been his pink slip. “freak accident” my booty. Hickey sometimes tries to be their friend more than their Coach.
I lik what someone else said about Woods the other day…valium and vodka……hopefully both at the same time whenh he pitches in NYC.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Well congrats to your Rays on the Yankee series! It was quite a battle and look where you are now: 1 game behind first! Very impressive!

As for Qualls, I’m glad he has an opportunity for redemption.. let’s hope he does better this time around!

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

Jane,
Grant Balfour gets an all expense paid free trip to the DL, and will be out 4-6 weeks. Hickey gets probably only a smug look and maybe a finger pointed at him.
Hopefully the Rays have a Kangaroo Court that will fine Hickey enough to pay for a night on the town for the Rays Bullpen…But I think it is an issue-non issue now.
Hopefully this will be the Rays last straw with Hickey…But he seems to have nine lives.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Mimi so far he got the job done today. Qualls induced a inning ending double play and got the ground ball the Rays were hoping he would get to give them an opprtunity to get out of the inning with no problems.
So….Appearance #1 was a rousing success.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Well, we’ll see how he handles pitching for a team that actually wins. That must be a good feeling for him, starting over like that. Lots of Dbacks probably wish they had that situation themselves.
–jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
I actually thought the D-Backs might hold their own this year in the N L West, but as we know expectations can be trumped fast by reality.
Qualls got a tremendous opportunity to turn his season and his confidence around by being picked up by a club that will ( hopefully) be in the Playoffs. Yesterday he did what he needed to do to start off on the right foot….Hopefully he will not need to take baby steps.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Virgina,
Still not sure on the Kerry Woods pick-up, but he has time to prove himself. Sometimes you get a bad reputation when you are unmotivated on a below par team.
But, both deserve a chance to try and eradicate any bad stats, plus pronote a few good entries into their 2010 records.
Could be worse…Could be Manny!

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I was scratching my head when I heard the Rays got Qualls, because I heard about how bad he was (who didn’t?). And I wondered why my Yankees got Kerry Wood. I guess you are right: guys deserve second chances!
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

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