Nationals Claim Jeter Downs

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(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Jeter Downs was once a top prospect that came in return for Mookie Betts. At the time, Downs was a highly-touted prospect, featuring on the back end of Baseball America’s top 100 list in both 2020 and 2021. Now just two years after the trade Downs finds himself designated for assignment by Boston and claimed off waivers by the Nationals.

Downs, 24, now gets a chance to revamp his career on a rebuilding team. Downs was awful in his big league debut a year ago with Boston sporting a batting line of .154/.171/.256 in 14 games. His minor league numbers haven’t been much better since leaving the Dodgers organization.

The Nationals are coming off of a year in which they had the worst record in baseball. Therefore, they not only had the number one pick in the Rule Five Draft, but they also have priority over waiver claims. It was announced Tuesday morning that Downs had been claimed by Washington.

Jeter Downs, 24, now gets a chance to revamp his career on a rebuilding team. Downs was awful in his big league debut a year ago with Boston sporting a batting line of .154/.171/.256 in 14 games. His minor league numbers haven’t been much better since leaving the Dodgers organization. So while he struggled in Boston, it may not have been the right fit. He could prove to be a key contributor for the Nationals.

He also brings defensive versatility, having primarily played shortstop but also some second and third base. The Nats will have a young middle infield consisting of CJ Abrams at shortstop and Luis Garcia at second. Third base figures to be manned by Jeimer Candelario, though he’s only on a one-year deal and could be dealt at midseason if he’s performing well. Carter Kieboom is also in the mix for work at the hot corner though he’s struggled in the big leagues so far and missed the 2022 season entirely due to Tommy John surgery.

The Nationals had to designate reliever Reed Garrett for assignment to make room.

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