The Phillies signed veteran reliever Chad Qualls earlier this week with the hopes of bolstering their bullpen. After losing key elements to their ‘pen in Ryan Madson, who signed a one-year deal with the Reds, and Brad Lidge, who signed a one-year deal with the Nationals, the Phillies have considerably reloaded themselves in short time during the offseason. First the signing of Jonathan Papelbon, who will take the closer role from the lost Madson, and now the signing of Qualls.
Qualls, 33, posted a 6-8 record with a 3.51 ERA in 2011, but this does not represent what he is capable of playing like. Qualls will undoubtebly play a key role towards the final innings of games such as the “7th and 8th” as Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was recently quoted saying.
On a team that is lacking in terms of quality setup guys (Bastardo and Stutes are still raw), Qualls could be key. He has had five 20+ hold (keeping the game where it is) seasons, and 51 career saves. His versatility is important, and expect the Phillies to use him in three or four different innings because of his durability. He is not a “blow you away” kind of pitcher, but more of a control and placement workhorse. If he can pitch like he has in his career, especially with Arizona, then the Phillies bullpen might be able to stay level in relation to last year, even with all of the tough losses.