The Atlanta Braves acquired the left-handed reliever they've been coveting, picking up Scott Downs from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for minor leaguer Cory Rasmus. The 37-year old Downs is in the final year of a three-year, $15 million contract he signed with the Angels prior to the 2011 season Downs is the second reliever to be traded today, following the Tigers' acquisition of Jose Veras from the Astros.
Downs has gone from an effective reliever against both lefties and righties to one that really should only be used against lefties over the last two seasons. in 2013, Downs has a 1.84 ERA in 29 1/3 innings along with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks, but has struck out 14 lefties while walking just three and allowing only a .196/.255/.216 line to them. Righties are hitting .276/.385/.411 against Downs this year.
The Braves were in need of another left-handed reliever to join Luis Avilan in their bullpen after both Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty were knocked out for the season following Tommy John surgery. Avilan has been pure death against lefties (who are hitting a paltry .130/.211/.159 against him), but his effectiveness against right-handers (.162/.274/.175) has pushed him into a more advanced role, necessitating the need for a pure LOOGY in Atlanta's bullpen. Downs can fill that role perfectly for the Braves.
Rasmus could best be described as a live arm. The 25-year old has spent most of the season with AAA Gwinnett (aside from a three game stint in the majors), striking out 48 and walking 22 in 36 2/3 innings. He's really just a lottery ticket arm, and an acceptable return for a pending free agent in Downs.