This is bound to be one of the more eventful offseasons in memory for the Houston Astros. It has started off slowly with a pickup of left-handed reliever Darin Downs off of waivers from the Detroit Tigers. On the surface this might look like the Astros just grabbing a relief pitcher that the Tigers didn’t want and taking a shot on him. It goes deeper than that however as Downs gives the Astros the possibility for a very good lefty option out of the bullpen.
We could say that it depends on how well he pitches but that is the case for every pitching signing this offseason. Looking at his 2013 ERA which is well over 4.00 makes this look more risky than it is. If you take out the month of June, Downs’ ERA goes way down to 3.25 and his strikeout ability might not be record-setting but it is there. It happens as many times as it doesn’t happen but Downs could be a real diamond in the rough for the Astros.
His minor league numbers are better than his 2013 MLB numbers as well. The point is that Jeff Luhnow is one of the smarter GMs in MLB whether many fans know it or not. He helped build the current St. Louis Cardinals organization and he knows talent when he sees it. That talent doesn’t always come through for him of course but moves like this one for Downs are those that can really turn to gold for cheap.