Are the Rays Insane in the membrane?
Right after midnight last night I was praying long and hard to the Baseball Gods that the message I was seeing on my computer screen was the aftereffect of some radically liberal baseball geniuses who had somehow hacked into the central mainframe of my favorite MLB rumors website and posted the lies that now had me sweating like a sacrificial lamb.
The shock and awe of both Qualls and Hawpe had me hyperventilating for a few moments before it came to me that a calculated plan had to be in effect. For Rays Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman would not effectively curse or even mitigate bringing back two atrocious athletes like Hawpe and Qualls again into the Rays fold, thus risking multitudes of members of the Rays Republic from shunning the “Rays Way.”
After an hour of constant pacing and surreal images of watching inherited runner after inherited runner scoring again on Qualls in 2011,word come to me via a daydream of Hawpe actually having a pre-arbitration agreement with the Rays to decline their arbitration offer and thus become a free and clear Type-B free agent. But there were moments of fear within me that Hawpe would accept the Rays arbitration offer and possibly get a bump in his old Colorado Rockies $ 7.5 million salary for 2011.
The “gentleman’s agreement” by Hawpe and the Rays front office instantly quelled at least half of my impending stomach convulsions, with only the image of the ineffective Qualls clutching the ball on the Rays mound with the bases loaded and no outs in a 1-run game. That image is constantly churning within my skullcap after the dismal first half of Qualls season that saw him totally implode as the closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
That since his reprieve to the Rays on July 31st, right-handed hitters had only posted a .179, but left-handers feasted on Qualls to establish a pathetic .425 average since his first Rays pitch.
I instantly felt myself immersed in a putrid bath of sweat thinking about how Qualls only converted 12 saves in 43 games for the Diamondbacks while posting a horrific 8.29 ERA. That Qualls even got the chance for two separate Rays wins is still a mystery to me. That even after surrendering a 2-run Home Run to New York Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson on September 15th , thus suffering his third blown save since joining the Rays, a Dan Johnson 2-run shot then got him his 1st Rays victory.
I was instantly scared that Qualls would accept the Rays offer of arbitration with an eye on competing for the Rays closer spot in the Spring 2011, and that thought scared me all the way down to my bones. Not merely for the fact that 7 of 26 inherited runs scored on Qualls with the Rays in his brief 2010 stint, but that he was no longer the confident and prolific reliever who in 2009 converted a career high 24 saves and led all MLB relievers with a 1.21 BB/9 IP ratio and 6.43 SO/BB ratio. The immediate sightlines of his fall from grace over the past season resonated that we might have acquired a aging arm set for a breakdown.
Even at this moment it is not clear yet if Qualls enter into a same arrangement like Hawpe to vacate his chance for a 2011 spot this Spring at the arbitration table opposite the Rays front office headhunters. Hopefully it is a done deal that has not made itself privy to the media yet, or seen the light of day, but any acceptance of Qualls to be a member of the 2011 Rays is an abominable affirmation of an impending apocalypse .
Even the thought that Qualls could venture northward of the figure of his past 2010 amount of $ 4.185 million has me almost throwing up into my own mouth. I do not get too emotionally overcharged by signings or the arbitration shell game too often, but this one really just sickens me down to the core. I have nothing against Qualls personally, but as a baseball player and as a future Rays closer, I hope he never sees the light of the Rays clubhouse again.