D-Backs Send Valverde to Astros for Three

The Arizona Diamondbacksacks sent Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year Jose Valverde to the Houston Astros for 2B/OF Chris Burke plus pitchers Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez.

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired right-handed pitchers Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez and outfielder Chris Burke from the Houston Astros in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jose Valverde, as announced by D-backs' Senior Vice President and General Manager Josh Byrnes.

"Adding Chad Qualls gives us an experienced, versatile reliever who has flourished in late-game situations in recent years," Byrnes said. "Qualls, Juan Gutierrez, and Chris Burke provide us with depth and flexibility to our roster for years to come. Jose Valverde has spent over a decade in our organization. We thank him for all of his contributions here."

Qualls, 29, has gone 23-12 with a 3.39 ERA in parts of four major league seasons. He went 6-5 with a 3.05 ERA in 79 games last season, tossing 82.2 innings for Houston. His 79 appearances ranked ninth in the National League, while his career-high 81 outings in 2006 tied for sixth among NL relievers. Qualls leads the NL with 237 appearances since the beginning of the 2005 season. He pitched during the postseason in 2004 and 2005, including three games in the 2005 World Series.

Qualls was originally drafted by the Astros in the second round in 2000 after a career at the University of Nevada, Reno that saw him earn All-Big West Conference honors in 1999 and 2000.

Burke, the Astros' first-round draft choice in 2001 (10th overall), has hit .249 (254-for-1020) in 359 games with the Astros, adding 61 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs and 94 RBI. Last season, Burke saw action in 111 games for Houston, batting .229 (73-for-319) with 19 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 28 RBI.

Gutierrez made his major league debut on Aug. 19 for the Astros, finishing the season with a 1-1 record and a 5.91 ERA (14 ER in 21.1 IP) in relief, striking out 16 and walking 6. Gutierrez has appeared in 123 minor league games (94 starts) in Houston's system, going 36-26 with a 3.45 ERA (213 ER in 555.1 IP).

Valverde is the D-Backs' all-time and single-season saves leader after recording 47 saves last season and 98 in his career. He led the majors in saves last year, earning his first All-Star berth. Valverde went 1-4 with a 2.66 ERA in 65 games last season, striking out 78 batters in 64.1 innings.


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