The extremely high asking price for Scott Downs

The Yankees' top five trade chips
If the Yanks make a big move, it will come in August

After a strong start, the Toronto Blue Jays have faded back to their usual fourth place spot, barely hovering above .500 and 12 games behind the Yanks. So as the trade deadline arrives, the team will probably try to move some of its more valuable parts. To that end, Scott Downs, their 34-year-old lefty reliever having a decent season, is in high demand. Downs has thrown 42.1 innings over 47 appearances and is sporting a 2.34 with 10 walks and 35 strike outs. Lefties are hitting just .182/.308/.309 in 65 plate appearances against the southpaw, and both the Yankees and Red Sox are rumored to be very interested.

There is but one problem: The Blue Jays are asking for the world. According to Jon Heyman, Toronto asked for Jesus Montero, a laughable proposal, and George A. King says the Blue Jays wanted Joba Chamberlain. (Toronto has reportedly asked for Casey Kelly or Jose Igelsias from the Red Sox for their reliever.) Downs would be a great addition to the bullpen with Damaso Marte out and Boone Logan as the club’s only left-hander, but at that price, the trade isn’t not even worth discussing. Outside of the greats, no reliever — and particularly not a 34-year-old — is worth a player of Joba’s or Montero’s caliber.

The Yankees' top five trade chips
If the Yanks make a big move, it will come in August
  • Thomas Cassidy

    Tough one here to give up Joba for Downs. I’m not sure if I’d do that. I would offer up a McAllister and Nunez though. Downs is a great pitcher, but not THAT great. No way they get what they’re asking for him. No way.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    It’s all the Type A stuff. Anthopolous knows that Downs is likely to decline arb and sign elsewhere and net the Jays two picks, so he has to price him appropriately (especially if moving him intradivisionally).

    It’s why I’ve always been more interested in Type B guys like Dotel (or Joe Beimel, if the Rockies become sellers). Or possibly Toronto’s Kevin Gregg, although they might be inclined to pick up his option and try and sell him next year instead.

    • Thomas Cassidy

      I am interested to see if the Yankees could acquire Brad Ziegler from Oakland or George Sherill from Los Angeles. Probably not. They won’t land Downs, either.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Zeigler’s not even in his arb years yet. There’s close to no chance they move him; even the guys who they would move (Wuertz/Crisp) are reported to have sky-high price tags. I’ve eliminated any Oakland Athletic from consideration; Beane is either standing pat or possibly buying (they’re only 8 back of Texas and tied with LA).

        Sherrill I’ve been interested in for a while, but apparently the Dodgers are keeping him, outright waivers be damned.

      • Steve O.

        They could aquire Sherill, but the Dodgers would want salary relief and I’m not sure if Cashman wants to add salary. Ziegler, probably not. Beane can be tough to trade with at times.

    • Steve O.

      Exactly, AA is smart enough to know not to trade a Type A guy for his value, but even more. He’s going too big though. Unlike Minaya who gave away Wagner for peanuts.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I think Anthopoulos probably would move Downs for a return lower than the value of two top draft picks, given the risk that Downs accepts arb (small) or gets signed by a team that signs a better Type A and the pick is a second rounder instead of a first (a little less small) or doesn’t get signed by anyone at all due to the pick compensation (smallest of all). If he could get one legit prospect for him, the risk mitigation makes sense.

        A bird in the hand, you know.

        But he wouldn’t move Downs inside the division for a return smaller than the two draft picks. Because if you’re the manager of the Blue Jays, you can’t afford to trade Scott Downs to a division rival and watch Downs help them win a title and then watch Downs turn into two elite prospects for that division rival. That’s a PR nightmare and one of the things that the fans/ownership would use as part of the case to fire you.

        • Chris

          One legit prospect at AA is better than 2 draft picks. That’s even if you don’t consider the chances of not getting picks.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            That depends on how legit the legit prospect is, and how legit the pool of talent in the draft is.

          • Steve O.

            Yeah, but it’s not about that. It’s about getting the bullpen help in return for a championship.

        • Steve O.

          You’re right. I have nothing to add. You’ve got all your bases covered.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            THAT IS HOW YOU DEBATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • rbizzler

      Is a team (yes, i know that it only takes one) really going to give up a first or second round pick to sign Scott Downs? He has been pretty good the past few years, but he is far from a player I would ever give up picks for. Couple that with the fact that ’10 looks to be a loaded class and GM’s are valuing picks/cheap layers more and I don’t see Downs getting all that much action on the FA market as a Type A.

      And I agree with you on Type B’s. The more the merrier in that regard.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Meh, all those Type A’s that couldn’t find work because nobody wanted to give up a pick for them (Juan Cruz, O-Dog, O-Cab, etc.) eventually found work and had someone give up a pick for them.

        Scott Downs might linger on the market longer than he’d like, but somebody will eventually rationalize that their need for a quality lefty reliever outweighs the value of a draft pick.

        • Ed

          Don’t forget Darren Oliver and Rafael Soriano. They both thought the Type A status would hurt their value enough that they just accepted arbitration. I don’t remember if there were other players in the same situation or not, but a bunch of guys have had clauses in their contracts that they can’t get offered arbitration if they’re a Type A. Players do see Type A status hurting their market value.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Don’t forget Darren Oliver and Rafael Soriano. They both thought the Type A status would hurt their value enough that they just accepted arbitration.

            In retrospect, those might have been overreactions.

        • ZZ

          And Juan Cruz had to wait around all winter only to end up with $6 million over 2 years.

          You are really underestimating the chance Down accepts arbitration.

          Players do not like to sit around all winter not knowing where they are going to play next year especially when the money they will get at the end probably won’t be all that impressive.

          Especially since Downs is 35 and there is a deep draft class coming up, he will not be a very attractive free agent and there is a very good chance he would want to go through what Juan Cruz did.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Juan Cruz: not a lefty

            Juan Cruz: not a pitcher with a 2.27 ERA (190+) over the past four seasons

            Scott Downs >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Juan Cruz

            • ZZ

              There is not even close to that much distance in terms of how much a team will covet those two.

              There is not some huge market for LH relievers where they make a special premium like you are making it out to be.

              Downs is a 35 year old middle reliever whose stuff is not nearly good enough to close for the teams that will target him.

              And Juan Cruz was lucky to even find a team basically at the last minute.

              Teams will be extremely hesitant to sign Downs and then even less willing to give him some sort of significant payday.

              Scott Downs is just not someone who is valued on the FA market anymore.

              He can make a good salary for a middle reliever and have the security of being locked up at the beginning of winter by accepting arbitration. There is a very good chance his agent advises him that this will be the best and most secure option for him.

              He can get a raise next year and put himself in line for another arbitration raise the following year to the point where he will be getting extremely well paid for a reliever.

              Also, I could do those >>>>> for lets say Orlando Hudson in comparison to Juan Cruz.

              Yet, Hudson only got 3 million after waiting around all winter.

  • phughesisgod

    This is what it all boils down to. Toronto is in love with Joba. Hell, they were willing to do Halladay for Joba and probably a prospect or 2. Anyway, there is no way in hell I am trading Joba for Downs. If Cashman was going to do that, then he should have dealt Joba in a Haren trade.

  • j_Yankees

    Huh? Joba or Jesus for Scott Downs? Nahhh thats ok.

  • jsbrendog (returns)

    did zdruniek take over in toronto?

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    I really really do not like Anthopoulos, he is a great GM without a doubt, but if I was Cash/Epstein and he called me with that proposal, I laugh into it until he gets the message and hangs up himself.

    If he wants Adams/Phelps/Laird for Downs though, then I don’t hesitate.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Anthopolous has to charge the Yankees/Red Sox a premium for a reliever like Downs who can come with a double draft pick bonus.

      Our prices have to be higher than prices for non-AL-East title contenders. It’s sound organizational strategy on the part of the Blue Jays. If I was a Jays fan and Anthopolous didn’t demand the moon and stars for Downs from the Yankees and Sox, I’d be mighty pissed.

      • Steve O.

        This. Especially considering the Yankees and Redsox dominance over them.

    • vin

      “If he wants Adams/Phelps/Laird for Downs though, then I don’t hesitate.

      All 3 for a middle reliever? No thanks. Cash can turn those guys into more valuable pieces down the road.

  • bonestock94

    You guys mixed up the report, Anthopolous offered the entire Jays organization EXCEPT Scott Downs for Casey Kelly.

  • JohnnyC

    I like where George King labeled both Casey Kelly and Iglesias as infielders. That’s the kind of sportswriting that’ll get a Red Smith Award one day. Keep it up, George.

    • Chris

      The pitcher is part of the infield. Sort of.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        FACT: Casey Kelly plays all 11 positions. That’s right, I said 11.

        • Randy A.

          Player-Manager too…

  • Frank

    I think there will be more deals after this first “deadline” on Saturday as there are quite a few teams that are still in the race (or so they may think). By mid-August, the entire landscape of who is a contender/pretender may well change.

  • Chris0313

    Monter for Downs? Pull the trigger!

    /Isiah Thomas’d

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Extended warranty? HOW CAN I LOSE?!?!??!?


    • Poopy Pants

      Who the hell is Monter?

  • stuart

    Downs is great……

    No he isin’t he is a good lefty relief arm, he is 34 and next year if he stunk I would not be suprised.

    People throw around prospects for older stuff like they are tissues.

    This year Downs probably could really help the Yanks but great he us not even Mike Stanton good..

  • JeffG

    How about the Nats asking for Garza for a Dunn rental? That is so ridiculous I half thought Boras became a GM.

    • Chris0313

      That is nowhere as ridiculous as Montero for Downs. Garza and Dunn would be similar to trading Hanley for Beckett.

      • keithr

        Dunn is a FA after this season.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          So is Downs.

      • Angelo

        I don’t think so. Hanley for Beckett at the time is viewed very differently than Garza for Dunn (a rental) right now.

        Garza is much, much, better than Dunn.

        Hanley was a top prospect and Beckett wasn’t a rental player.

        • Chris0313

          I disagree with Garza being that much more valuable than Dunn.

          Dunn: 2.9 WAR, Garza 1.2 WAR

          • vin

            Young starters are worth their weight in gold. Dunn has been underappreciated in his career, but its a hell of a lot easier to find a slugger with awful defensive skills than it is to find a young starter with team control.

            The fact that Dunn would be a rental who will require a large salary to keep makes the differences in WAR irrelevant.

            The present-day Rays do not make trades like this. If it’s true, then Washington should be embarassed for wasting Friedman’s time.

          • Angelo

            Starting pitcher >> American league DH

            Garza WAR:

            2008: 3.0 WAR
            2009: 3.4 WAR
            2010: 1.2 WAR

            Dunn WAR:

            2008: 1.0
            2009: 1.2
            2010. 2.9

            Plus Garza is 4 years younger, a starter (starters are very valuable.)

            Dunn will be gone after the season.

            Who’s better?

            • Andy In Sunny Daytona

              “Everywhere is WAR. WAR in the East. WAR in the West. WAR up North. WAR down South. WAR, WAR rumors of a WAR.”

              /Bob Marley via Haile Selassie, Jah RasTafari’d

              /Ras Trent’d

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Thurgood: I be from Jamaica, mon.
                Sampson: What part of Jamaica?
                Thurgood: Right neear the beeach, BOY-EEEE!!!

              • Angelo

                Haha, yeah. WAR apparently proves that any player is better than another.

                Let’s not consider position, age, contract, stadium, upside. WAR is the answer to everything.

                • Chris0313

                  In my original post, I said that I didn’t think that Garza was THAT MUCH MORE valuable than Dunn. Obviously, that implies that I believe he is indeed more valuable than done. But Dunn’s value to the Rays, for example, a team deep in pitching is underrated. I compared the deal to the sox dealing Hanley for Beckett. You deal from a strength (offense) to rectify a weakness (pitching).

                  In this case, the Nats are dealing Adam Dunn and are asking for the Rays strength (starting pitching).

                  And I’m sure the Rays wouldn’t pull of a Garza-Dunn deal if they couldn’t sign Dunn long term. My point is, though Garza is far more valuable in baseball, he might not be that much more valuable than Dunn to the Rays.

                  • Angelo

                    Not a bad point. However, since Garza is still under team control, and has one more year of arbitration, the Rays could hold onto their young pitcher.

                    The Rays are supposed to be decreasing their payroll, so their is no way they would retain Dunn. In this sense, they need to retain all of their best, underpriced, young players.

                    Looking at it this way, even if you make the point that the Rays have pitching depth (Hellickson, and Davis to a lesser extent.) Teams can never have enough pitching depth and Garza is one of their better starters.

                    If the Rays want to compete this year AND next season, it would make far more sense to retain Garza. Pitching wins. Dunn is a very good DH, I just don’t think their values are that close. Young starters are more valuable than rental DH’s. Even when you consider the Rays depth in pitching.

              • Thomas

                WAR what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, though it was the original title for Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

      • vin

        It’s more ridiculous (even though Montero for Downs is laughable). Garza is entering his prime and has 2 more years of team control while Dunn will be a 31 year old free agent in 3 months.

      • JeffG

        I think both fit in the insane category.

        I understand shooting high but at some point wouldn’t an offer like that be offensive?

      • FachoinaNYY

        Not when you consider Dunn is a rental…

    • Pete

      I think I would strongly consider that deal if I were in Tampa’s position. Everything is contextual; the Rays have about sixteen bajillion quality young starters, of whom Garza is in the “not David Price” tier. What they don’t have, however, is a DH. Adam Dunn could probably DH till he’s 40, providing huge value for a club that is typically unspectacular offensively.

      This would, of course, be contingent on being able to sign Dunn to an extension. So I’d have to get Dunn to agree to something first, which probably isn’t happening.

  • Chris0313

    Scott Downs is really not all that impressive. I have no idea what the hype is about. He reminds me of Damaso Marte before he was traded to the Yankees.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    I honestly can’t even make a joke about this. It’s comedy gold on its own.


  • Chris

    According to Jon Heyman, Toronto asked for Jesus Montero, a laughable proposal, and George A. King says the Blue Jays wanted Joba Chamberlain. (Toronto has reportedly asked for Casey Kelly or Jose Igelsias from the Red Sox for their reliever.)

    So they asked for a catcher who’s struggled at AAA, a reliever with an ERA over 5, a starter who’s currently injured and has an ERA of nearly 5 in AA, or a shortstop who’s missed the past 2 months after being hit on the hand. It seems like they’re just trying to buy low on someone.

    • Chris0313

      I hope this isn’t serious.

    • JohnnyC

      Casey Kelly is not injured. He cannot be hurt. He’s…resting.

      • Thomas

        Casey Kelly resting is referred to as him showing mercy.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          “Casey Kelly resting is referred to as him showing mercy the Sabbath.”


          • Thomas


          • Steve O.

            Well done.

    • pat

      That’s not really how buying low works.

  • dan genovese

    let them suck with him…………..there are 3 teams in the division that are better ….and it is going to remain that way.they should gothe way of montreal

    • Accent Shallow

      Come on, Washington can’t support two MLB teams.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        well done

  • Steve H

    Why would the Jays want Iglesias? They just traded for Escobar after previously giving a ton of money to Hechevarria.

    As far as asking for a ton for Downs they should. Relievers should not have their own category when it comes to Type A/B compensation. Maybe, maybe you could do it for closers (with a minimum number of saves qualifying you) but I still think that would be dumb. Having middle relievers get Type A status causing outrageous offers like this and also kept Juan Cruz unsigned.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Relievers should not have their own category when it comes to Type A/B compensation.

      I want a separate Elias ranking for bench players. We should have picked up four draft picks for letting Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr. walk; they were just as talented and instrumental and important as any middle reliever.

    • A.D.

      Agreed, should just be all pitchers, then maybe a top closer could slide into b.

    • Ed

      Why would the Jays want Iglesias? They just traded for Escobar after previously giving a ton of money to Hechevarria.

      Why would we want Gary Sanchez when we have Montero, Romine, Murphy… ?

      If you can acquire a good up the middle prospect, you do. If you can’t use him, you can easily trade him for something else you need.

  • rek4gehrig

    Logan rocks!!!!

  • Jorge

    What is the most anyone here would be willing to give up for Scott Downs? Am I crazy in even thinking a Z-Mac or Nunez would be too much? You’re a 34 year-old middle reliever. I don’t care what the stats say this year. You’re worth Lance Pendleton and a kick in the behind.

    • Accent Shallow

      I tend to agree, but there’s a non-zero chance that Marte doesn’t come back at 100%, and Logan turns back into a non-strike-throwing-machine, leaving the pen without a reliable lefty.

      • Jorge

        Every contender can lay claim to a “if/then/what” type scenario with some aspect on their team. You find resonable solutions to those problems, and don’t get fleeced in the process.

        I remember sitting in the bleachers when the lefty option out of the pen was Wayne Franklin.

    • A.D.

      I’d be fine with giving up some of the pitching depth in the zmac/noesi/phelps/nova group. I don’t think the yanks are trading nunez unless its a large deal, but with Lee and Haren gone, I don’t know what deal that would be.

      • vin

        Time to start thinking Pujols…

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder


    • Steve O.

      I doubt cash would move Nuñez considering he reportedly didn’t want to move him in the Lee package. McAllister would be too little. It’d have to be McAllister plus a few others. Even then I wouldn’t expect for anything to get done.

  • nsalem

    Would be perfectly happy if Brian just comes up with some minor adjustments (just like last year) to improve our bench and the pen. Presently we are the best team in baseball and probably can improve our performance in the last 63 games. I hope Joba gets moved down to 7th inning work and can get his head and mechanics together in that spot. A postseason bullpen of DRob, Hughes, Marte, Joba and Logan is pretty good and should stand up fine. Ace coming back would be a major bonus.
    At this point I see nobody out there worth giving up anyone of value for besides Soria and Dunn. The asking price is to high for both of them therefore we should stay the course with what we have.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Well said.

    • Steve H

      Agreed 100%.

    • Jorge

      Agreed. I see the value in Dunn, but the asking price is ridiculous for such a one-dimensional player.

    • CS Yankee

      Agreed, but if Toronto feels guilty about their silly requests for Downs, I say we counter with Kei, Nick Johnson & Chad Ho Moseley and a bag of balls for Downs & Gregg.


  • zs190

    Guess who’s .219/.329/.281 vs lefties this year? Boone Logan. Not saying Scott Downs isn’t a very good upgrade for the bullpen but there is no reason to overpay him. Aceves supposedly about 2 weeks from coming back and Marte will be back for September/playoffs.

  • dan

    what agout royce ring…..he gets out leftys…………I think.