The Indians announced this afternoon that they signed left-handed reliever Scott Downs to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Downs will receive a base salary of $800,000 if he makes the team out of spring training.
Downs landed a one-year, $4.25 million contract with the White Sox last offseason, but he posted an ugly 6.08 ERA over 38 appearances with the club before being released in early July. He latched on with the Royals from there, but was limited to just 17 appearances due to a neck injury and put up a 3.14 ERA and 3/5 K/BB ratio over 14 1/3 innings. Kansas City did not include him on their postseason roster.
Downs turns 39 in March and saw a sharp drop in velocity last season, so he might be done as an effective late-inning pitcher in the majors, but it’s worth a shot for the Indians to still see if he has something left in the tank.
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.