Red Sox designated Jeter Downs, a top prospect that they acquired in exchange for Mookie Betts, as a DFA
Jeter Downs was rated the No. 1 Red Sox prospect according to MLB Pipeline shortly after being acquired in the 2020 trade that brought Mookie Betts, a perennial All-Star, to the Dodgers.
When Los Angeles included the shortstop in the package, the Red Sox made the contentious trade because they were convinced of Downs’ lofty status. During his three years in the Boston farm system, Downs, on the other hand, did not even come close to fulfilling his promise.
That was made crystal clear on Thursday when the Red Sox designated Downs for assignment to make room for their prized acquisition from Japan, Masataka Yoshida, to be added to the 40-man roster.
Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox’s chief baseball officer, stated, “This was a tough one.”
“I still think there’s a lot of physical ability there, but we haven’t been able to unlock it consistently. Certainly, he’s still young and there’s no reason to write him off, but he’s obviously had some struggles.”
The most challenging area for Downs has been hitting. In 2021, he hit.190 at Triple-A Worcester, but this past season, he only hit.197 at the same affiliate.
When the Red Sox were decimated by injuries in 2022, the 24-year-old made his MLB debut. He had the memorable moment of producing his first hit of his career, a game-tying RBI single in the ninth inning against the Yankees. He came through with the walk-off run a few minutes later.
Downs, a middle infielder, hit just.154 with a home run and four RBIs for Boston in 14 games.
“I’m glad he was able to get to the big leagues with us, glad he was able to have a moment with us here at Fenway, help us win a big game,” said Bloom. “That was a lot of fun for a lot of people, but obviously, we haven’t been able to get him to that success as consistently as anybody would like with Jeter.”
Given that Bloom was one of the three players who came over for Betts, along with Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong, who are still with the club, it was posed to Bloom as to whether or not the DFA was more difficult to swallow.
“I don’t think it changes what the decision is, because ultimately we have a responsibility to every player in this organization to just make the right decision by all of them when we’re making decisions for the organization,” said Bloom. “No doubt he was a big part of a really significant trade, and that we haven’t gotten him to the level we expected hurts, but at the end of the day, we want to do right by all of our players and the organization.”