Free Agent Stock Watch: Scott Downs

Left-handed relievers are always in high demand regardless of the time of year, and this offseason Scott Downs is the best the free agent market has to offer. Let's examine the former Blue Jay's stock… 

The Good

  • Downs isn't just a lefty specialist, he's perfectly capable of facing right-handed batters as well. Over the last three seasons, he's held righties to a .238/.325/.329 batting line (removing intentional walks) compared to .198/.264/.316 vs. LHB. 
  • He's already proven to be more than capable against the tough lineups that inhabit the AL East.
  • Downs has experience in a variety of roles, so he's an option to both close or set-up.

The Bad

  • Downs will turn 35 in Spring Training, so a three-year deal will carry him through age 37.
  • He's been on the disabled list three times since 2008 with foot and ankle issues, and he also missed the last two-plus weeks of the 2009 season with a hamstring issue.
  • Downs is a Type-A free agent that will certainly be offered arbitration, so it'll cost a high draft pick to sign him.

The Verdict

Joaquin Benoit's three-year, $16.5MM deal might have set the market for Downs, who's the best non-Rafael Soriano reliever on the market. The Red Sox are expected to show interest though the Yankees are reportedly not willing to surrender the draft pick. A reliever of Downs' quality fits with all 30 clubs, but only a few may be willing to offer multiple years at potentially closer money to sign him. Tim projected him to sign with Boston, and the smart money is on Downs joining a contender's bullpen.


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17 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Scott Downs"


Dave_Gershman
4 years 8 months ago

I think which ever team signs him, will sign an big time Type A first, as Buster Olney pointed out a few weeks ago…

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 8 months ago

Or a team who is protected will take a flyer on him. I find that to be more likely.

4 years 8 months ago

Either a team that has a protected first round pick, one that has already signed another Type A free agent and will lose it’s first pick anyway, or maybe even one that has stockpiled a bunch of supplemental picks. Not to nitpick on a comment, but I wouldn’t call it a “flyer” to sign Downs. He’d be a solid signing for any team.

Scotty has to be the best lefty reliever, if not the best reliever on the market. Best set up guy now that Benoit is gone for sure. Maybe a team would rather go another direction because of the first round pick, but Downs will get a nice contract and he deserves it.

flickadave
4 years 8 months ago

Orioles maybe? I think they think they can be pretty decent this year.

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 8 months ago

Hmmm.. I doubt it. I think at this point they just want to draft as much as possible until they’re ready to compete, which could be as early as 2012. They don’t have the offense quite yet, and pitching is improving with experience.

If they want to address their bullpen, Putz and Rauch would be ideal choices.

dizzle4
4 years 8 months ago

Just an FYI for whichever team signs him – Downs rules.

TXHC
4 years 8 months ago

His last name is very fitting for his pitching style.

4 years 8 months ago

downs is awesome. jays fans are gonna miss him

moonraker45
4 years 8 months ago

MLB should change Type A status for relievers.. Its not fair that Downs has been so good that he’s a Type A but that lowers his value amongst other relievers because the team has to give up a pick…

I think the rule should be changed that relievers that qualify for type A’s don’t require a team to forfeit a 1st round pick.. it should be that teams who lose Type A relievers receive 2 compensatory picks in the supplementary round, instead of 1. . That way to a team that signs them they give nothing up, but the teams who lose them are still awarded appropriately.

AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs
4 years 8 months ago

I’d rather see the whole system done away with. No compensation, no losing first rounders.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 8 months ago

But then you have to think about what would happen to someone like Rafael Soriano who would definetly bring back compensation…And even though he is a closer, he is a reliever…It’s complicated stuff but I agree that there should be some simpler way for these good relievers to find a job…

moonraker45
4 years 8 months ago

regardless if he definetely would, it still lowers his value because it limits teams who are interested… tampa would still get 2 picks, and if anything its safer because if a team has a protected pick tampa would still get better then a second rounder

RandomN8
4 years 8 months ago

If/after the Angels sign Crawford, I see them getting involved with Downs

4 years 8 months ago

I’ve been meaning to get involved with Scott Downs also.

jrollpatrol08
4 years 8 months ago

hmmm…i guess the phils arent even gonna kick the tires on downs? Being a top-notch left handed reliever, and having that be the one priority of the phils this offseason, I would have expected to maybe hear them in the mix somewhere…Maybe the money, multi-year commitment is pushing the phils in a cheaper direction…tis gonna be a slowwwww offseason over here i believe

jrollpatrol08
4 years 8 months ago

hmmm…i guess the phils arent even gonna kick the tires on downs? Being a top-notch left handed reliever, and having that be the one priority of the phils this offseason, I would have expected to maybe hear them in the mix somewhere…Maybe the money, multi-year commitment is pushing the phils in a cheaper direction…tis gonna be a slowwwww offseason over here i believe

4 years 8 months ago

I don’t know. Theo Epstein has been pretty clear that he would prefer to shy away from relievers that will require muti-year deals. If he has to, he will bite the bullet and do it. But there will be much more cost effective relievers available and I’d like to see Felix Doubront get back in the bullpen for the Sox. I like him as a starter, but I like him even better as a long reliever. If Matsuzaka, Lackey, or Beckett are off at the beginning of a game, they don’t have to let it get to 5-0 or 6-0 before we turn to the bullpen. I’d much prefer to try to trade Scutaro for the relief help. Lowrie, if he can stay healthy, has such massive potential beyond anything Scutaro dreams of at night. Now I’m not saying he will reach that potential. But it has to be far to intriguing to not give him a fair shot at a young age. I find it likely that Scoots finds himself in a backup role at some point next season at which time his trade value plummets. He had a solid 2010. We can get a quality arm back for him. Pull the trigger Theo! And forget about Scott Downs…