PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies wanted more bullpen depth, so on Tuesday, they signed right-hander Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract.
Qualls, 33, is expected to join a 'pen that could include Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Kyle Kendrick and Dontrelle Willis, with several others in the mix in Spring Training.
Qualls provides the Phils another veteran right-handed arm, which might prove necessary because of the uncertainty surrounding Contreras' health. Contreras had right elbow surgery last year, and while the Phillies believe he could be ready close to Opening Day, nobody is certain.
Qualls, 33, went 6-8 with a 3.51 ERA in 77 appearances last season with the Padres. He had a 1.96 ERA in his final 19 appearances, but he went 4-5 with a 5.05 ERA in 38 appearances on the road, compared to 2-3 with a 2.09 ERA in 39 appearances in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Love this signing. Our bullpen was a problem last season with Madson having to shoulder the load. Now with Papelbon, Bastardo, and Qualls, things are looking up.
ESPN's Jayson Stark hears that the Phillies have sent signals that they might make Joe Blanton available this spring.
Hopefully we can get something decent out of him if he does end up traded. If Worley can keep up what he did last season, there's no doubt he'll have leaped over Blanton in the pitching rotation.