The Chicago White Sox and left-handed reliever Scott Downs have agreed to terms on a one-year, $4-million contract, which includes a club option for 2015. Under terms of the agreement, Downs will receive $3.75 million in 2014, while the White Sox hold a $4.25-million option for 2015 with a $250,000 buyout.
Downs, 37, combined to go 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA (12 ER/43.1 IP), 37 strikeouts and 26 holds in 68 appearances last season between Los Angeles-AL and Atlanta. He tied for 10th in the major leagues in holds.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Downs was 2-3 with a 1.84 ERA (6 ER/29.1 IP) and 18 holds in 43 games with the Angels before being traded to the Braves on July 29, where he went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA (6 ER/14.0 IP), 15 strikeouts and eight holds in 25 games.
"Downs provides us with some balance to our bullpen and another veteran arm for Robin to call upon late in games," said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. "Scott's impact will not only be felt on the field, but given his makeup and leadership skills it will be felt in the clubhouse and bullpen as well."
Downs has gone 38-36 with a 3.48 ERA (276 ER/713.1 IP), 550 strikeouts and 166 holds in 564 games (50 starts) over 12 major-league seasons with the Cubs (2000), Montreal (2000, '03-04), Toronto (2005-10), the Angels (2011-13) and Braves (2013). Among active left-handers, he ranks second in holds and fifth in appearances.
Over the past seven seasons (2007-13), Downs has recorded a 2.33 ERA (98 ER/379.1 IP) with a major-league best 160 holds while limiting left-handers to a .204 (123-603) average. During that span, he has posted at least 24 holds six times and has not allowed more than four home runs in a season.
Downs registered a career-best 1.34 ERA with Los Angeles in 2011 and a 1.78 mark with the Blue Jays in 2008.
He originally was selected by the Cubs in the third round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft.
To make room for Downs on the 40-man roster, the White Sox designated left-hander Santos Rodriguez for assignment. With the moves, the Sox 40-man roster is at 40.