The Angels sign Scott Downs to a three-year, $15 million contract

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UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com confirms it. The Angels have signed Downs to a three-year, $15 million contract. He could earn an additional $1 million based on games finished.

Downs, who turns 35 in March, posted a 2.64 ERA and 48/14 K/BB ratio over 61 1/3 innings this past season. The southpaw has a 2.36 ERA over 262 appearances since the beginning of the 2007 season.

Updating my previous entry, the Angels’ first-round pick (#14 overall) is protected in next year’s draft, so signing Downs (a Type A free agent) would cost them their second-round pick. If they signed Adrian Beltre — who has a higher Elias ranking — that pick would go to the Red Sox and the Blue Jays would receive the Angels’ third-round pick.

This isn’t exactly sticking it to the Red Sox for losing out on Crawford, but it’s obviously a little better than I originally thought. That being said, you would think this would have to take them out of the market for Rafael Soriano, right?

6:15 PM: Unless some “sick fake person” took over Peter Gammons’ Twitter account, it appears that the Angels may be close to signing Scott Downs to a three-year, $15 million contract.

That leaves me with this question. If signing Hisanori Takahashi to a two-year, $8 million contract was a “splash,” as Angels general manager Tony Regains described it the other day, would it be fair to classify Scott Downs as a tsunami?

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.