Nice pick-up by FW. Downs is a veteran lefty who, in his prime, was an AL-version of Eric O’Flaherty, though he’s not quite at that level these days. The 37-year-old has averaged 8.7 H, 3.5 BB and 6.9 K’s per 9 IP over his career, virtually identical to EOF’s numbers. Downs has a 1.84 ERA this season, holding lefties to a .196 BA, and a 2.10 ERA in three seasons with the Angles.
The cost was minimal: Cory Rasmus, who projects as a 4-A reliever. He didn’t show much in a cameo with the Bravos, allowing 4 homers in 6-2/3 IP.
I hope Downs is viewed as a complement to Avilan and Walden, who’ve earned their late-inning roles, instead of a replacement. Frankly, Luis and Jordan are better at this point. Avilan has given up five fewer hits than Downs despite pitching 13 more innings, while Walden, with 39 K’s in 34 IP, is the kind of hard thrower that excels in October.
As with just about every player, you can find something troubling if you dig deep into their stats. For Downs, it’s his 2013 home/road splits: 0.49 ERA and .129 opponents’ average in 24 games at the Big A; 4.09 ERA and .400 opponents’ average in 19 games elsewhere.
Don’t read too much into that — he was better on the road (2.70 ERA) than home (3.51) last year. Downs, whose contract expires at season’s end, will only cost the Braves about $2 mil, leaving them with more than enough money to add another bat for the bench or, perhaps, rotation depth.