Scott Downs Signs Free Agent Contract with Los Angeles Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Former Kentucky star southpaw Scott Downs, a native of Louisville, Ky., has signed a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels, it was announced by the Angels on Friday.

The Angels reported its contract with Downs as a three-year deal, worth $15 million, not including incentives. Downs spent the 2010 season - and the previous six MLB seasons - pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, where he has established a reputation as one of the best relievers in the game. In 2010, Downs appeared in 67 games, posting a 5-5 record and a 2.64 ERA. Downs, who led MLB with 81 appearances in 2007, totaled 26 holds a year ago for the Blue Jays and owns 84 holds since 2007, the third most in baseball.

Downs, a graduate of Pleasure Ridge Park in Louisville, was a third-round pick in the 1997 MLB Draft out of UK. Downs made his MLB debut in 2000 with the Chicago Cubs, also spending time with the Montreal Expos, before joining the Blue Jays in 2004.

In his MLB career, Downs has appeared in 379 games with 50 starts, charting a 27-28 record and a 2.79 ERA, saving 16 games. Throughout his professional career, Downs has functioned in a variety of roles, including starting pitcher, set-up reliever, left-handed match-up reliever and as a closer. Over the last four years, Downs owns a 2.36 ERA, which ranks fifth best among American League relievers. Considered the premier southpaw reliever available during the 2011 MLB free agent season, Downs can be used in several roles as a proven option against hitters from both sides of the plate, holding lefties to a .152 batting average (.241 slugging percentage) and right-handed hitters to a .243 mark (.354 slugging).

"Scott's going to be able to pitch in a variety of roles," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Scott's definitely a guy who can get the last out if you need it. He's not your typical lefty as far as matchups. He can handle anybody. Scott's definitely a guy who can hold a lead."

"I'm looking forward to this journey," Downs said. "I'm excited to work towards the main goal this organization prides itself on -- and that's winning championships."