The Philadelphia Phillies signed Chad Qualls to a one year contract worth $1.15 million that includes additional unspecified bonuses.

As Bill Baer does an excellent job of suggesting over at Crashburn Alley, Qualls’ declining strike out rates over the last three years could have a lot to do with his breaking stuff losing an edge over that same period. Less movement combined with fewer swinging strikes and higher contact rates on pitches out of the zone lead one to believe that this is the root of the reliever’s recent problems.

The signing is also of note for the Phillies because it represents the type of bargain that I wrote about last week that comes from being patient on the free agent reliever market. The Phillies were incredibly quick to lock up Jonathan Papelbon to a four year contract worth $50 million, but have perhaps learned something of a lesson as signing Qualls compares to this deal compares quite nicely with the Minnesota Twins spending $4.75 million on Matt Capps back in early December.