BOSTON — Jeter Downs was named MLB Pipeline’s top pick for the Red Sox in 2020 in a trade that sent perennial All-Star Mookie Betts to the Dodgers.
The Red Sox certainly valued Towns’ lofty status, which is why once the shortstop was included in a package deal by Los Angeles, they made the controversial deal. However, in his three years in the Boston farm system, Towns has not lived up to his promise.
“It’s a tough game,” said Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. “The fact that he’s in a position where we considered him and picked him, I think that just speaks to some of the work we’ve put into trying to get him on track.
“I still think there’s a lot of physical ability there, but we haven’t been able to unlock it consistently. Of course, he’s young enough that there’s no reason to rule him out, but he’s clearly had some struggles.”
Towns has struggled most with hitting. He’s . 190 with Triple-A Worcester in 2021 and averaged just . 197 with the same affiliate last season.
The 24-year-old, who made his MLB debut in 2022 with the Red Sox sidelined by injury, had a memorable moment with his first career hit — the game-tying RBI single — in Game 9. against the Yankees. A few minutes later, he scored.
In 14 games, Towns hit . 154 for Boston with a home run and four RBIs as a center infielder.
“I’m excited for him to be in the big leagues with us and happy for him to spend time with us at Fenway and help us win a big game,” Bloom said. “It’s been fun for a lot of people, but obviously we can’t get him to be as consistently successful as anyone would like.”
Bloom was asked if DFA was harder to take because he was one of three players who came for Betts, joining Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong, who are still at the club.
“I don’t think it’s going to change the content of the decision because ultimately we have a responsibility to every player in this organization to make the right decision for all of them as we make decisions for the organization,” Bloom said . “There’s no doubt he was a big part of a very important deal and we haven’t had him at the level of damage we expected, but ultimately, we want all of our players and organization to do the right thing”