|Seeking bullpen depth at the July 31 trade deadline, the Rays agreed to send a player to be named to the Diamondbacks for deposed closer Chad Qualls. That player was identified as Double-A reliever Matt Gorgen about five weeks later, on Sept. 9.
Tampa Bay targeted Qualls to fill a low-leverage role in their bullpen, filling in for the injured Grant Balfour and taking innings away from Lance Cormier and Andy Sonnanstine. Despite an ugly 8.29 ERA for Arizona, Qualls has maintained his 92-94 mph fastball velocity and his extreme groundball ways. His trouble appears to stem from an excess of baserunners. He walked more batters this season (3.6 per nine innings) and has been more hittable (14.4 per nine) than in years past.
|Matt Gorgen, rhp
Born: Jan. 27, 1987 in Palo Alto, Calif.
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 210. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Rays in 16th round of 2008 draft; signed June 11, 2008.
Gorgen paced the Southern League with 22 saves and 37 games finished, but scouts see him as more of a middle reliever in the big leagues. A max-effort, high-energy pitcher, he sits in the low 90s with his fastball and can run it up to 93-94 mph on occasion. His sharp slider sits in the low 80s and is his strikeout pitch. Gorgen’s twin brother Scott, a Cardinals’ fourth-round pick out of UC Irvine in ’08, also pitched in Double-A this season, going 5-1, 1.26 in eight starts (plus four relief appearances) for Springfield.
|Chad Qualls, rhp
Age: 31. Remaining Commitment: Approximately $1.381 million (signed 1-year, $4.185 million deal with Diamondbacks in January, avoiding arbitration).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.