There has been little for the Chicago White Sox to celebrate when it comes to their bullpen production this season and the team appears to be starting to make some changes. Veteran left-hander Scott Downs has been designated for assignment, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. A move appeared to be coming, as Downs had been seen saying goodbye to teammates in the team’s clubhouse following their game on Wednesday night.
Downs, 38, has produced some largely underwhelming results on the year to date. He’s made 38 appearances for the White Sox, but has thrown just 23.2 IP. His 6.08 ERA, 1.648 WHIP, and 5.7 BB/9 all mark career worsts.
With a $4.25 Million vesting option in his contract that kicks in with 55 appearances, it seems clear that was part of Chicago’s decision to make this move now rather than waiting much longer. Downs had made two consecutive appearances in which he allowed an earned run without recording an out. He simply was no longer providing value and there was little reason for the team to risk locking him into that deal for next season.
With success against left-handed hitters – Downs held them to a .225/.309/.367 line – there’s a chance that someone could take a chance on him in a left-handed specialist role once he clears waivers. His splits against righties, however, have been troubling (.296/.415/.364) so it’s tough to see him facing too many high leverage situations if he is able to catch on elsewhere.