The Braves won’t go another day without a veteran lefthanded reliever in their bullpen after trading for the Angels’ Scott Downs. Well, they may have to wait one more day depending on how quickly Downs can get to Atlanta from the West Coast. Atlanta had been on the lookout for experienced southpaw relievers after losing stalwarts Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters to Tommy John surgery this season.
The Angels will receive 25-year-old righthander Cory Rasmus, a reliever who has spent the bulk of the season in Triple-A, save for a three-game cameo with the Braves in May and June.
By trading the 37-year-old Downs, the Angels officially became deadline sellers, a decision no doubt hastened by news yesterday that Albert Pujols may miss the remainder of the season with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot.
Cory Rasmus, rhp
Career Transactions: Selected by Braves in supplemental first round (38th overall) of 2006 draft; signed June 8, 2006 … On disabled list, June 19-Sept. 19, 2007
If he can reign in the walks, Rasmus will have a future in a big league bullpen because he has a firm fastball and the weaponry to retire batters from both sides of the plate. He allowed a .160 average to Triple-A opponents this year, as he sits in the low 90s and can go to either a slider or changeup, both of which reside in the mid-80s, for swinging strikes. Rasmus also cuts his fastball and mixes in a 12-to-6 curveball occasionally, but his sinking changeup is generally regarded his go-to out-pitch. A max-effort delivery has consistently led to control problems and high walk rates—4.9 per nine innings at Double-A and 5.4 at Triple-A.
Scott Downs, lhp
Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $5 million salary for 2013.
Downs has held lefthanded batters to a paltry .196/.255/.216 line this season, while keeping more than 60 percent of balls in play against him on the ground. He’s much more susceptible to righthanders (.795 OPS this year; .764 career), but given his dominance versus same-sided batters and groundball profile, he would have a place in any modern-day bullpen.