Braves acquire Scott Downs from Angels

19 Comments

Atlanta has been linked to various left-handed relievers leading up to the trade deadline and the Braves finally got their man, acquiring Scott Downs from the Angels for minor leaguer Cory Rasmus.

Downs has long been one of the best lefty relievers in baseball, posting a 2.27 ERA in 422 appearances since 2007, and the 37-year-old impending free agent has a 1.84 ERA in 29 innings this season. He’ll slide into a setup role in front of closer Craig Kimbrel.

Rasmus was a first-round pick in 2006, but has thrown just seven career innings in the majors at age 25. He has fantastic numbers at Triple-A this season with a 1.72 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 37 innings, but has also walked 5.4 batters per nine innings and projects as a middle reliever if his control remains an issue.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

Getty Images
1 Comment

Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.