The Phillies signed RHP Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million deal, according to the official Phillies Twitter page.
Wait a minute, don't the Phillies have a full bullpen already?
The Phillies are stocked with young bullpen arms: Mike Stutes, Justin DeFratus, Michael Schwimer, and Phillipe Aumont from the right side. So what are the Phillies doing signing another right-handed reliever? I think there are many implications here:
1. Forget Jose Contreras
The Jose Contreras signing may have been one of Ruben Amaro's worst signings, which in the grand scheme of things is not that awful. Contreras has been battling injury, and the signing of Chad Qualls is probably a sign that the Phillies do not count on Contreras contributing much.
2. Joe Blanton is questionable
I still believe that Kyle Kendrick will start more than Joe Blanton. The trouble with nerve damage in your pitching arm is that you cannot feel when your arm is hurt, overextended, or tired. Injuries come all too easily with such an injury.
3. The young arms are great...just not 8th inning-worthy.
In due time, someone from Justin DeFratus, Phillipe Aumont, Michael Schwimer, or Mike Stutes will be a capable 8th inning arm. However, for a team to contend for a World Series Championship, they should be better-armed for the tough 8th inning role. They will get plenty of chances to prove themselves this year, and will get their day.
The Phillies sven-man bullpen will be made up of some combination of the following:
- Jonathan Papelbon
- Jose Contreras
- Antonio Bastardo
- Mike Stutes
- Dontrelle Willis
- David Herndon
- Kyle Kendrick
- Chad Qualls
- Philippe Aumont
- Justin DeFratus
- Michael Schwimer
That is four too many relievers. However, removing Contreras for injury, Kyle Kendrick to the rotation, they are only two extra deep. I would rather the Phillies be better-equipped than underequipped; injuries happen, and some may simply not make the cut. It's a long season and many of these players will factor into the team's plans, particularly under new rules that allow for an extra player during double-headers.
So, why not sign Chad Qualls?
Note: I did not include Joe Savery in the mix because I mostly focused on right-handers; another solid year at AAA and he may most certainly factor into the team's plans.