Trade deadline day: Rays to get reliever Qualls
UPDATE, 3:33: Rays are still exploring several options but at this point it's very unlikely they will make a deal by 4 p.m. - not for Adam Dunn or Luke Scott or any other. Yankees, meanwhile, are on verge of another, reportedly set to acquire RHP Kerry Wood.
UPDATE, 2:33: There are plenty of rumors flying across the Internet, however, with talk the Rays are - in light of the Balfour injury - looking for more relief help, such as Toronto's highly-priced Scott Downs and Seattle's Brandon League, and are also talking to the Orioles, which could involve Will Ohman, or Luke Scott (though probably not Ty Wigginton) or any one of a few others who may be dumped there.
UPDATE, 2:31: All quiet at the Trop right now, though there is official word from the Yankees that the Lance Berkman trade is completed, and he is expected to be here tonight, along with new teammate Austin Kearns.
UPDATE, 10:54: And almost on cue, Qualls trade is now official - he will be in uniform tonight at the Trop, a corresponding move will be announced later today.
Here's some of what the Rays do like about Qualls, from the official press release:
The seven-year veteran has compiled a 30-26 record, 3.75 ERA and 51 saves with the Houston Astros (2004-07) and Diamondbacks (2008-10). Among all major league relievers since 2005, his 408 appearances rank second to Bob Howry (414) and his 414.2 innings pitched rank third after Arizona’s Aaron Heilman (435.1) and Minnesota’s Matt Guerrier (423.2).
UPDATE, 10:49: Nothing from the Rays yet on Qualls or how he fits, but in a related note, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, both new Yankees - Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns, are expected to be in uniform for tonight's game at the Trop.
UPDATE, 9:15: The Rays are going to get Qualls, with the deal expected to be announced later this morning. Still sorting out how this will fit in a bullpen that has overall been pretty good.
DEVELOPING: There is going to be a lot of talk leading up to today's 4 p.m. deadline deal, but we start with some apparent action:
According to the Diamondbacks' web site - and with no comfirmation yet from the Rays - the Rays are "on the verge" of acquiring RHP Chad Qualls, who began the season as Arizona's closer and has posted some brutal numbers, 1-4 with an 8.51 ERA, .370 opponents average and .421 on-base percentage. The 31-year-old righthander has 12 saves this season, and did have 24 last season.
Qualls is due about $1.6-million the remainder of this season (of his $4.185-million salary), with the Rays reportedly picking up the money and sending Arizona, which is in fire sale mode, a player to be named. Qualls could be a replacement for middle/long reliever Lance Cormier or Andy Sonnanstine.
Qualls does offer the benefit of postseason experience with the 2004-05 Astros.