Rays Acquire Chad Qualls From Diamondbacks for PTBNL; Grant Balfour to DL

And no, we don't mean the Podcast. From MLB Trade Rumors:

The unloading of veteran Diamondbacks continues, as they've shipped reliever Chad Qualls to the Rays for a player to be named later.  The Rays will pay the entire $1.48MM remaining on Qualls' contract, keeping interim GM Jerry Dipoto's streak alive of not sending cash in his transactions.

This seems about as official as official can get. We've covered Qualls here on DRB multiple times in the last month, including ranking him number six in our trade deadline wish list., and he'll definitely provide our bullpen with more depth. While his ERA looks ghastly (8.29), he's striking out eight batter per nine and walking only three and a half. His problem seems to stem from a .434 BABIP and a 51.4% left on base percentage, which could be a result of bad luck and/or grooving too many pitches. In the end, though, he's an extreme groundball pitcher (54.9% GB rate) and the Rays have one of the best infield defenses in the league. When he's at his best, Qualls is closer material, giving the Rays a potential steal of a trade. He should fit in nicely.

Even if Qualls doesn't immediately revert to his 2008-2009 self, the Rays only need him to be better than the last man in their bullpen: Andy Sonnanstine or Lance Cormier. One of them will need to go to make room for Qualls: either Cormier will need to be DFA'd or Andy optioned to the minors. Either way, it boosts the depth of the Rays' pen and provides us with that other bullpen arm we've been so dearly coveting.

UPDATE: From Marc Topkin, "Grant Balfour headed to the DL with a intercostal (rib) strain. That's how they'll make room for Qualls." Topkin also goes on to say that Balfour could miss 4-6 weeks, which would place his return around the middle of September. 

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