The Miami Marlins have signed reliever Chad Qualls to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. The 34 year old righty spent time with the Phillies, Yankees and Pirates last season posting a 5.33 ERA in 52 innings of work.
Qualls served as the closer for the Diamondbacks in 2008 and 2009, but he has struggled badly since then. Last season his strikeout rate was down to 4.6 K/9, a far cry from his peak of 8.7 K/9 in 2008. He remains excellent at keeping the ball on the ground, however.
His career ground ball percentage is 57.3% and he was close to that at 55.4% last season. He has not lost much velocity on his fastball during his decline and his control is still above average, so there is reason to believe that he become an effective reliever once again.
While he is no longer a strong late inning option, Qualls is probably a decent bet to make the rebuilding Marlins at some point next season. He should still be a reasonable middle inning reliever for the Miami and if he recovers some of his former strikeout ability, he could have even some trade value for them mid-season as teams look to sure up their bullpens.