I gotta go with @Ricky_Mast on this one:
Downs is 37 years old, a veteran for so long that he’s played for the Montreal Expos (2003-4). This year he sports a 1.84 ERA (3.31 FIP for those who pay attention to that – arrrgggg). He’s getting 63% ground balls, keeps the ball in the park (7.7% HR/Fly Ball ratio), and strands 85% of runners inherited/allowed. He walks a few more than I’d like to see (3.38/9 innings), but that’ll work in small doses.
Courtesy of by colleague Ben Chase, there are some ‘splits’ worthy of review about Downs:
- Lefty hitters are hitting .196 vs. him; RH hitters .276 (4 earned runs vs. 2 otherwise)
- In Angels Stadium: .129 batting avg. On the road? .383 (18 hits vs. 8)
- Lefty hitters on the road have gotten him for a .389 average. Odd.
- Righty hitters at home? .172.
- Home cookin’ works for him… hope he likes the new Waffle House.
The Angels have used him both as a LOOGY (Left-Handed hitter One-Out Guy) and for entire innings. He’s been there and done that (though notably: nothing in the playoffs in his career). This is a solid pickup for Atlanta – in exchange for a guy that the Braves can (fairly easily) do without.
Cory Rasmus was solid at AAA Gwinnett: 3-1, 14 saves and a 1.72 ERA, but was pressed/rushed up to the majors for a couple of weeks whilst there was trouble in the pen. He had just three appearances at the major league level, but gave up earned runs in all of them… including three versus Toronto on May 27th. He will be 26 years old in November, and did not rank among the top prospects of the Braves.
It’s always difficult to lose players, but in this case, it’s really a pretty cheap price to pay for Downs’ services as a “rental”. Downs’ contract (3 years/$15m) is done at years’ end. The Braves will likely take the almost $1.6m left on his contract through the end of the year.
First honest reaction? How the heck did Wren do this AGAIN with (“to”) the Angels while the taste of Walden-for-Hanson was still in their mouths? I suppose you’d have to look at it from the Angels’ perspective: and no – I do not believe they were fleeced here. They would likely lose Downs for nothing at the end of the year, so Rasmus represents a potentially useful pickup for them down the road. He throws hard and can strikeout hitters in bunches. Control can be an issue, but again, in small doses (an inning at a time), that can be worked around, given his K-rate (1.3 per inning). It’s good for both clubs.
Priority one for Frank Wren was lefty reliever. DONE.
>>> Given this deal, the Braves are likely still active: stay tuned.