Veteran reliever Scott Downs was designated for assignment by the White Sox in a move that Dan Dayes of CSNChicago.com says came “much to the dismay of his teammates.”
Downs signed with the White Sox in January for $4.25 million and reported to camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, but it resulted in an ugly 6.08 ERA with 15 walks in 24 innings. As recently as last season Downs posted a 2.49 ERA in 43 innings for the Braves and Angels, so even at age 38 it’s possible he still has a little something left in the tank for a team in need of middle relief help.
Chicago felt he struggled too much versus right-handed hitters to trust Downs as more than a situational southpaw and they didn’t want to use a bullpen spot on a role that limited, which is why Triple-A left-hander Eric Surkamp was called up to replace him. Downs will no doubt pass through waivers unclaimed, because none of the other 29 teams will want to touch the $2.5 million or so remaining on his contract.
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.