Ruben Amaro recently combined the return of Chase Utley with the exit of Chad Qualls, which was a brilliant bit of Phillies marketing that got everybody excited and created a buzz of positivity at Citizens Bank Park, only to lose every single game from that point until now in truly devastating fashion.
And yet, having witnessed Chad Qualls enter games with a slim lead, joking with the nearest strangers about how the game was ‘already lost,’ and then watching that terrifically hackneyed humor becoming a fucked-up reality almost every time, the sheer joy of Chad’s absence is still there.
Chad left the Phillies clubhouse with a 4.60 ERA, which honestly sounds remarkably low for the number of angrily-worded letters I have no reason to assume didn’t make it to his locker. Basically Chad was the least effective employed person at completing the task for which he was employed that I have ever seen. And I once watched an ice cream man get a DUI.
But the Yankees being the Yankees, they assume that all Chad needs to be a good pitcher again is a change of clothes. This time, his clothes will have the legendary Yankees emblem on it, giving him all the archaic powers of he Ancients and the resources of the illuminati.
“He’s another guy that can get up to 95 mph, somewhat of a power guy — a sinker guy [who is] very tough on right-handers. We mix and match a bit here, so we hope he’s really effective for us.
The Yankees, you see, “mix and match a bit,” which is different than any other team, where bullpen match-ups are considered ‘evil’ and often defended against by frantic mismanagement. Also, the Yankees “hope [Chad's] really effective,” and everyone is aware of how the Yankees’ hopefulness is 10x more potent than the hope of other organizations.
The question, however, remains whether Chad Qualls’ effectiveness is such that even the Yankees’ hope can bring him back. There was a time when the man was a solid reliever, unless I’m just remembering the pat wrong, again. I recall seeing the Phillies pick him up and thinking, “Yes, okay.” If I were the team acquiring Chad now, after his Phillies tenure, my response would have had way more swearing and, let’s face it, violence.
“What is the matter with you?” you and my team of therapists ask. ”Why do you just sit around, reacting to things?”
“Because somebody has to,” I reply, which is the answer I give when anybody asks me why I’m doing anything. In fact, if I hear someone start a sentence with the word “why” I just stop listening because I know what I am going to say.
This was all a shame. It’s a shame that Chad became a central figure in this abysmal season, it’s a shame that he had any sort of effectiveness prior to this that made us think he would be okay, it’s a shame that his departure from the roster is almost as exciting as Chase Utley rejoining, and it’s a shame that “Quall to the Pen” will now never become a thing.