The #Astros have officially claimed LHP Darin Downs (@DDowns99) off waivers from Detroit. He made 29 apps. for the Tigers last season.
— Houston Astros (@astros) November 1, 2013
Downs, who will be 29 in December, is a 6'3" 210lb LHP and was the Cubs' 5th Round pick in 2003. Given that he made his major-league debut in July 2012, he's not arbitration-eligible until 2016, so he'll be making league minimum for the next two seasons.
In 29 appearances for the Tigers in 2013 (35.1IP), Downs allowed 36H/19ER, 37K:11BB, 4HR, for a 4.84 ERA/1.33 WHIP. Up until June 1, though, Downs' season was going pretty well: 22.1IP, 16H/7ER, 25K:6BB - a 2.52 ERA/0.99 WHIP on a .245 BABIP. Of course he pitched in two of the four May games at Minute Maid Park and allowed 3H/0ER, 5K:0BB in 2.2IP.
Then things got away from him in June, when he allowed earned runs in five of his six appearances for a 10.57 ERA/2.35 WHIP on a .600 BABIP (regressing to the mean is a bitch).
He mainly throws a fastball (89.7mph) and a slider (85.2mph), mixing in an 84mph changeup in there, as well. I can see Downs coming in as a lefty specialist - he held lefties to a .219/.265/.359 line in 2013 (compared to .306/.378/.514 line vs. RHBs). And, at 29, he can buy the rest of the team beer.
In other Tigers/Astros-related news, Detroit announced that they have declined the 2014 option on former Astro Jose Veras.