Braves Acquire Scott Downs For Basically Nothing

It’s bullpen upgrade day. A few hours after the Tigers added Jose Veras, the Braves got the lefty reliever they’ve been hunting for, landing Scott Downs from the Angels, and they got him for what amounts to a hill of beans.

Working against Downs’ value was his age (37), his contract (remainder of $5M salary), and his splits (basically a LOOGY at this point). Adding a couple of million in payroll for a guy who is probably a situational reliever at this point in his career seems to have been enough to scare off most bidders, because the Braves only had to give up reliever Cory Rasmus to get him.

Rasmus isn’t completely without talent, as he’s 25 and posted a 32.4% strikeout rate in Triple-A this year. But his command is terrible (14.9% BB%), the stuff is more good than great, and at the end of the day, he’s basically a run of the mill relief prospect. Every organization in baseball has 20 relievers in the minors who sit at 93 and would be good if only they could throw strikes. These guys are everywhere.

Maybe Rasmus figures things out and becomes a solid middle reliever. Given Downs’ age and impending free agent status, there wasn’t any value to the Angels keeping him around, and so they turned nothing into something just north of nothing. But, as far as value goes, generic relief prospects who don’t throw strikes are about as close to nothing as you can get.

The Braves, meanwhile, are building their playoff roster. They’re basically a near lock for postseason play, and Downs fits in well as a death-to-lefties specialist who can be matched up against the likes of Joey Votto or Adrian Gonzalez in October. He’s declined enough to where he probably shouldn’t ever face a right-handed hitter in a high leverage situation, but there’s definitely a spot on winning teams for specialist relievers, especially with the way bullpens are arranged in the playoffs.

It’s going to be one of the more minor trades of the deadline, but don’t be too surprised to see Downs feature prominently in Atlanta’s playoff games this fall. He won’t stick around long, but for a batter or two, he’s going to be very useful in important situations.

We hoped you liked reading Braves Acquire Scott Downs For Basically Nothing by Dave Cameron!

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Braves Fan
Guest
Braves Fan

Too bad Fredi is too dumb to use him as just a lefty specialist.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I don’t even think Fredi could screw this up.

Robert L
Member
Robert L

You’d be shocked.

Snowman
Guest
Snowman

They’re absolutely correct. He’ll consistently try to bring him in to pitch whole innings, even if it’s a lefty leadoff guy and then two awesome righties. And no amount of failure of this strategy will ever deter him from continuing in that vein. The man just does not believe in using anyone, ever, as a LOOGY, regardless of how big their splits may be.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I think there needs to a be community fan post where fans lay out their case for why their team’s manager is the worst in the game. Then the community could vote and come up with the five or ten worst. Without question Ned Yost and Clint Hurdle would be in there, probably Rod Gardenhire from what I’ve seen also. And poor Braves fans, I remember the four Marlins fans expressing the same kinds of sentiments about him.

Scraps
Guest
Scraps

Eric Wedge!

Okay, I don’t think I’d pick Wedge as the worst. But he’d be in the running.

WooIsMe
Guest
WooIsMe

Rangers fans will be happy to add Ron Washington. Use a time machine and go back to May, and you’ll find Dodgers fans ready to pile on Mattingly.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar

Dusty Baker.

MLB The Show 2008
Guest
MLB The Show 2008

Fredi: “alright lets see, Downs has a career 3.47, so he will pitch the whole 7th inning”.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm

Remember that Cory Gearrin guy that was a righty killer that shouldn’t ever face lefties? Yeah, he faced a lot of lefties. And now he’s back in the minors. So….

cthabeerman
Member
cthabeerman

He also faced a lot of righties this season, and wasn’t particularly good against them, either.

That’s one strike for the performance of the player rather than mismanagement of a pitcher, at least in 2013. Fredi didn’t really screw this one up so bad.

-C

RC
Member
Member
RC

As an avid Braves fan who has done his fair share of Fredi bashing, I feel like I’ve got to come to his defense a little. As many mistakes as Gonzalez makes as a manager, year over year he does appear to be learning from past mistakes, and even showing a willingness to “think outside the box” in certain situations. Last night Fredi’s lineup started with Jason Heyward batting leadoff, and Andrelton Simmons relegated to the 8th spot. This gave him Heyward, Upton, Freeman, Gattis, and McCann as his first 5 hitters, which is pretty close to an optimal lineup for the players he has.

That said, I guarantee you that in the next few weeks, Downs will be used against right-handers, likely extensively. The reason for this will be that Fredi needs to “see” how Downs handles them. You could argue either way on the value in that, but the fact is that the Braves currently have enough of a lead that doing a little bit of experimenting to figure out how you want to use players in the postseason is actually pretty defensible. Once the playoffs actually get here, my guess is that Fredi will have learned that Downs should primarly face LHH only, and use him in that way.

Braves Fan
Guest
Braves Fan

And it only took him 100 games to get that lineup correct!

RC
Member
Member
RC

90% of managers in baseball never even try that lineup. Most would look at Chris Johnson’s batting average and have him leading off. Fredi has his warts, but I think a lot of the criticism of him is based on his first year managing the Braves, and he’s gotten a lot better since then.

R. Johnson
Guest
R. Johnson

Don’t know if lineup is correct yet.

Unless there’s some intangible mental issue with Chris Johnson that would prevent him from succeeding in spots 1-5, he should be batting 2nd (behind Heyward and in front of Freeman, JUpton, McCann, Gattis and Uggla). Also, going forward, BJ needs to be benched when healthy. That last outfield spot should be open for me and Schafer.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm

You’re the worst.

Billy
Guest
Billy

Yeah, wait, why WOULD it be so bad to bat Chris Johnson lead off? He has a high BA and OBP. Maybe his speed is sub par, but you can’t steal first. Or maybe regression concerns?

nsacip
Guest
nsacip

Fredi’s a good manager except when it comes to bullpen management.

JRoc
Guest
JRoc

He has the best bullpen ERA in the game…

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas

Because having the most talented closer in the game and an extremely filthy set up group makes up for a lot of his stupidity.

Wil
Guest
Wil

Makes up for a lot of his stupidity. Yes because all the mistakes and bad that’s on the manager, but all the good, that’s on the players for being so good.

See how that doesn’t quite work right?

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

is that you Fredi??

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

not to mention he always takes out the starting pitcher or the reliever AFTER the gave up the lead when it was crystal clear 2 batters before that that they had nothing like Beachy today