Add another name to the Astros bullpen pile. This time, it's Darin Downs, a 28-year old lefty that comes from the Detroit bullpen. From the Astros press release on the move:
Downs, 28, posted a 4.84 ERA (19ER/35.1IP) in 29 games across two stints in the Tigers bullpen this season. He struck out 37 hitters in his 35.1 innings pitched, while limiting left-handed hitters to a .219 (14x64) average. Downs also made 13 minor league appearances in 2013 and posted a 2.16 ERA (4ER/16.2IP) combined between Triple A Toledo (12g) and Class A West Michigan (1g). Downs has pitched in parts of the last two seasons with the Tigers and owns a career 2-3 record and a 4.34 ERA (27ER/56IP) in 47 games. He's collected 57 strikeouts in his 56.0 Major League innings pitched.
Downs takes the place of Erik Bedard, who filed for free agency on Thursday. That leaves the Astros with 36 players on the 40-man roster, meaning they have plenty of wiggle room this winter.
Downs joins Raul Valdes and Kevin Chapman as lefties on Houston's 40-man roster right now. Chapman finished the season in Houston's bullpen while Valdes was claimed off waivers last month from the Phillies.
Downs has pitched well against lefties in his brief career, suggesting he could fit a more traditional LOOGY role for Houston than Chapman or Valdes.
What do you think? Are you excited more about Downs' addition or Colin Wyers getting hired by the front office? Which one will make more of an impact in 2014?*
*Last question asked with tongue firmly in cheek.