When the news broke that the Los Angeles Angels had traded Scott Downs, a left-handed reliever to the Atlanta Braves for Cory Rasmus, most immediately said the Angels made a bad deal. I don’t think they did nearly as bad as people seem to think they did. If we examine the deal a little closer we can see that the Angels actually came away fairly okay for their side of it.
To begin with Downs is a very good pitcher but the Angels weren’t exactly going to need him down the stretch. I have a feeling that things would have been much different if they were in the thick of a pennant race but they are not. The fact is that they are not going to the playoffs this year and they are not going to be close. Downs, as good as he is, also happens to be 37 years old and a 2014 free agent. There was little control for the Angels and they knew they would probably lose him then anyway, if not a few years later.
Rasmus only pitched a few games in the major leagues and he did not fair that well. We are only talking about three games though. What pitcher can be gauged on his performance over three games? Rasmus had an ERA below 2 in triple-A this season and has consistently been a low ERA pitcher in the minors. He is much younger with a lot more team control left depending on what the Angels want to do with him.
They could help finish his development and possibly have a reliever on their hands as early as next season that could be every bit as good as Downs with a lot more contract control and a lot more time left to enjoy his large career up-side. It was not a bad deal by the Angels. It has been a bad season, but this was a good deal because of the bad season.