Houston Astros Making Moves To Improve Their Pitching Staff

by Gavin Ewbank | Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013
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Chad Qualls

After a somewhat surprising move to acquire Dexter Fowler from the Colorado Rockies, the Houston Astros showed they weren’t done making moves this offseason, signing both starting pitcher Scott Feldman and relief pitcher Chad Qualls this past week.

Qualls was signed to a two-year contract Saturday with a team option for 2016. The deal is for $6 million guaranteed with a $3.5 million option in 2016.

[quote]”Improving our bullpen is a top priority this offseason,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “Bringing Chad back to Houston is a big step in that direction.”[/quote]

Qualls, of course, started his career with the Astros after he was drafted in the second round by Houston in 2000. He was with the team during it’s World Series run in 2005, where they lost to the Chicago White Sox.

Qualls spent last season with the Miami Marlins, going  5-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 66 games. He has pitched for eight clubs in his big league career, going 45-37 with 51 saves and a 3.79 ERA in 663 appearances. He’s made at least 50 appearances in nine straight seasons.

The Astros also announced Friday the signing of former Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman to a three-year, $30 million deal.

Feldman, 30, posted a 3.86 ERA in 2013, splitting time between the Cubs and Orioles. He was a pretty liable reliable starter, pitching 181 2/3 innings with 132 strikeouts and 52 walks.

Feldman will be joining a very young Astros rotation that includes Lucas HarrellJarred Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer.

The Astros say they aren’t done making moves this winter, however, as they will continue to look for one more reliever similar to Qualls for the bullpen. Houston was expected to open up their wallets this winter, and they certainly have done that with the recent additions of Qualls, Feldman and Fowler.

The team with the worst record in the league three-years running is starting to look a little bit better for next season as their top prospects get closer to being major league ready.

Follow @GavinEwbank2013 on Twitter.

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Gavin Ewbank
About the Author

Living in always-too-hot Florida, Gavin an MLB Columnist for BHC. Apart from that, he occasionally covers high school sports for the Palm Coast Observer. You can follow Gavin on Twitter @GavinEwbank.

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