The Nationals announced they have claimed infielder Jeter Downs off waivers from the Red Sox. Downs had been recently designated for assignment by Boston. To create space on the 40-man roster, the Nats designated reliever Reed Garrett for assignment. Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post. reported the claim of Downs prior to the official announcement.
Downs, 24, is perhaps best known as one of the key pieces of the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers in February of 2020. Downs went to the Red Sox alongside Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong. At the time, Downs was a highly-touted prospect, featuring on the back end of Baseball America’s top 100 list in both 2020 and 2021.
Unfortunately, his stock has completely nosedived in the past two years. After the pandemic wiped out the minor leagues in 2020, Downs spent 2021 in Triple-A, getting into 99 games on the year. His power and speed were still evident, as he hit 14 home runs and stole 18 bases. However, he struck out in 32.3% of his plate appearances and finished with a batting line of .190/.272/.333 for a wRC+ of 62.
2022 was an improvement but only slightly. His strikeout rate dropped but was still quite high at 29.6%. He added another 16 homers and swiped 18 more bags, but his batting line of .197/.316/.412 added up to a 95 wRC+. He also got into 14 MLB games but hit just .154/.171/.256 in that small sample, striking out in 51.2% of his trips to the plate.
The Sox gave up on him by designating him for assignment last week but the rebuilding Nats will give him a shot. He’s still only 24, was a top prospect less than two years ago and has two option years remaining. He also brings defensive versatility, having primarily played shortstop but also some second and third base.
The Nats will have a young middle infield consisting of CJ Abrams at shortstop and Luis Garcia at second. Third base figures to be manned by Jeimer Candelario, though he’s only on a one-year deal and could be dealt at midseason if he’s performing well. Carter Kieboom is also in the mix for work at the hot corner though he’s struggled in the big leagues so far and missed the 2022 season entirely due to Tommy John surgery. Veteran Ildemaro Vargas is also on hand as a utility option, though there are avenues there for Downs to work his way into the picture if he can get things back on track.
Garrett, 30 in January, he has limited MLB experience, getting into 13 games with the 2019 Tigers and another seven with the 2022 Nationals with a stint in Japan in between. He posted a 6.75 ERA in the big leagues this year but was much better in the minors. He logged 47 1/3 Triple-A innings with a 3.04 ERA, 27% strikeout rate, 9.2% walk rate and 47.4% ground ball rate. The Nats will have one week to trade him or pass him through waivers. He still has a couple of option years remaining and had solid minor league numbers this year, which could lead to some interest from other clubs.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
Jeter is down, Jeter is down!
Boston does not have room for him. Enough said.
But they have room for that Kiko Garcia or whatever his name is.
I really never understood just giving up on a kid with this much potential and talent that he’s shown in the minors. At the end of the day, he’s 23.
A lot of people are 23 and can’t hit.
JD Martinez was cut by the Diamondbacks and claimed by the Tigers. Martinez turned it around. I would have kept him around a little longer.
Astros* I believe. JD went to Arizona from Detroit later on
Wow , that’s not a good comparison.
I can also come up with an extensive list of players at 23 that couldn’t hit, and never did thereafter.
all in the suit that you wear
Before being DFA’d, Downs was released from his winter ball team after hitting just .146/.263/.188 in 16 games.
I couldn’t hit a barn at 23, ay 😛
23? If you’re not good enough at 23, what makes you think he’ll be at 26 when talent starts rolling in to the league?
You’re prob right. But his minor league numbers were really thru the 2019 season and he is only 23. They thought enough of him to trade for him. I just thought another year or two is all I am saying.
It was time for a change of scenery. He has just been horrible offensively in fact he seems to be getting worse. He was cut by the winter league team he was playing for couldn’t even hit there. It was an easy call he seems like a good kid but he is lost at the plate. Hopefully he figures something out in Washington.
now the Nats have both of the prospects the Reds gave away to LA for Kemp/Puig/Wood/Farmer. All that’s left is for them to give Homer Bailey a ST invite
The Nationals should trade him for Mookie Betts imo
Boy Caught MLB TR
He’s got a great first name! Boston didn’t need another Jeter tormenting them for 10 more years
The man does not hit and will be 25 in July and yes we got took in the Mookie deal…
Mookie wanted out and would have left without any compensation.
Nats have nothing to lose signing a young prospect. Maybe this kid can make good on his ceiling.
Downs got released from his winter ball club this offseason after batting .143. It’s a shame to see such a talented kid not fulfill his potential. Perhaps he can turn things around in DC, but he’s someone who needs to revamp his entire approach at the plate and possibly his swing as well. It will take some time to get him back on track but best of luck to him!
all in the suit that you wear
Dorothy: Agreed. Hope he figures it out.
Jose Iglesias did it. I wouldn’t rule out Jeter.
Anyone have any idea on where Hosmer might end up?
all in the suit that you wear
Relaxing at home counting his money.
I hope he has enough. Gotta have at least 50 mil in the bank to live semi-comfortably these days.
I could do with 5
5 bucks?..Personally I could probably stretch 15-20 for a year or two.
Tampa or Miami if I were a betting man. He’s going home to family in Florida, that is if one of those teams are interested in a dirt cheap LHed Veteran 1 bagger. We’ll probably see relatively soon!
Thanks Gwynning. Didn’t know that he had family or resided out there.
This one belongs to the Reds
Living in a van down by the river!
Giants could use a free gold glove first baseman considering how bad their defense was last year.
Hosmer is a liability in the field at this point with minimal power. That’s why he is almost free to sign.
Garcia is fine but Abrams could benefit from a half year at AAA.
We’ll see if WAS can figure out what’s wrong with him. Why not?
Nats have never figured out what’s wrong with anyone.. Don’t think they’ll start now.
In 21-22 Downs fell off the turnip truck.
The Nats are going to be taking chances on “misfit toys” until they can create a base from within.
Could end up being the Nats opening day 2B
Why not? Garcia and Abrams need more time AAA and it’s not like they have many other options currently
Larry Brown's crank
I want Reed Garrett…I want the best! Reed Garrett’s the best….”Reed Garrett’s getting old”……hes still the best!
He needs someone like Kevin Long, to help him. Alas, not going to find that in Washington.
The Red Sox are a complete mess.