Over a month ago when Eric O’Flaherty was lost for the season Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren stated that they would seek to acquire a left-handed reliever before the trade deadline. He’s a man of his word.
Today the Braves acquired left-handed reliever Scott Downs from the Anaheim Angels for right-handed reliever Cory Rasmus. Downs is a 37-year old veteran, and will be used primarily to get left-handed batters out — which he’s done very well so far this season (vs. LHB .196/.255/.216).
Rasmus had a cup of coffee with Atlanta earlier this year, but wasn’t very impressive or effective. He’s still got some growing to do and he gets a good opportunity to do so in the Angles system.
Downs was drafted by the Braves out of high school in 1994 in the 12th round, but did not sign. He began his pro career three years later when he was selected by the Cubs. In his career he’s been involved in trades that included players such as Mike Morgan, Rick Aguilera, Kyle Lohse, and Rondell White. He was even a member of the Montreal Expos for five years… he’s been around a while.
This was a terrific trade for the Braves. They get the LOOGY they’ve been searching for and give up a completely disposable bullpen prospect (of which they have many more). They weren’t going to use Rasmus again this year, but they will certainly use Downs. This also takes a great deal of pressure off of Luis Avilan, as he doesn’t have to be the only lefty in the pen any longer.