Left-hander Scott Downs may not be exactly what the Tigers are looking for -- they appear to have plenty of those -- but his success as a setup man, and occasional appearances in a ninth-inning role for the Angels, could make him a target. Should the Halos fall out of contention by the end of July (and be willing to admit it) Downs is a pending free agent who may become available in a trade.
Stats via FanGraphs.com (updated June 26, 2013)
Last year of a three year, $15 million contract. Earns $5 million this season, free agent after the 2013 season.
Downs is 37, and has more than 10 years of major league experience with the Expos, Blue Jays, and Angels.
Why he fits the Tigers
This is a reliever who has been working the late innings for the past several seasons. He can help to set up in the seventh or eight inning, or can be called to close out a game if needed. He's better than Phil Coke as a lefty reliever, but that isn't saying much.
Why he doesn't fit the Tigers
The Tigers already have three lefties in their bullpen with Smyly, Downs, and Coke. They also have Matt Hoffman, whose on again, off again status has been on again so far this season, and they have Alvarez who has been spot starting. Ignore that Downs is left handed and he makes a lot more sense, but his splits vs right handers aren't very good.
How likely is a trade?
Probably less likely than many others. After spending big the past two winters on Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, CJ Wilson and others, the Angels will be very reluctant to throw in the towel with two months left in the season.
What the Tigers should give up
Phil Coke, who has another year left before free agency. Keep his brain, though. Either that, or a young relief pitching prospect.
Team blog thoughts
Rev Halofan, Halos Heaven told us:
Scott Downs is the most tradeable Angel. If any Angels player is traded by July 31 it will be Scott Downs, barring a blockbuster. If the team is not sniffing a playoff berth after the All Star game he will be gone. Downs has had a bounceback year after a lousy 2012. His 2011 was stellar. One thing going for him this season has been limited use. This should add to his value. In a pinch he would make an OK closer but in fairness he is better than just a LOOGY.
The Angels are going to want a minor-league pitching prospect for Downs. A starter who could be a 2014 callup and battle for a spot in the 2015 rotation would get you Downs. Their first seven picks in the draft were pitchers. They drafted 22 arms overall. The Angels are desperate for pitching in the short and long term. Got any? We will all know there was a bidding war for Downs if a low-service-time back-bullpen reliever joins the deal.