After the Astros extracted some minor league talent for a serviceable reliever with a rollercoaster past, the Angels basically punted on any type of future value Scott Downs may have had, sending the veteran lefty – and owner of a 2.10 ERA since 2011 – to Atlanta for minor league reliever Cory Rasmus.
Basically, it’s the wrong type of deal that a team with bubkis dwelling in their farm system should make.
The Good: Rasmus, a former 2006 first round pick, has averaged more than 10 punch outs per nine innings over the past two years, to go along with a sparkling 1.98 ERA.
The Bad: Wild Thing Rick Vaughn had a better shot at finding home plate early in his career.
Since being converted to a fulltime reliever after 2011, Rasmus has averaged 5.1 BB/9. And it’s not like the 6-foot right-hander is pumping high 90s gas either. During his six-inning stint with the Braves this year, his fastball averaged 93 mph. He did show four pitches, so maybe if he cuts it down to two or three his command might improve with focus on the other offerings. But who knows.
Oh, yeah, Rasmus has a bit of an injury history too. He missed 2007 and the majority of 2008 due to shoulder woes.
Instead of taking a flier on Rasmus, who at the very best becomes a replacement level middle reliever, the team would have done well by asking for a flawed player with one standout tool (Edward Salcedo) or a more sabermetrically favorable prospect (Todd Cunningham, William Beckwith, .or Tommy La Stella).
As for the Braves, well, GM Frank Wren did a fantastic job of acquiring good relief help on the cheap.
Photo of Scott Downs Courtesy of R. Yeatts/Getty Images via SI.com