The race to acquire Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs is picking up pace and not surprisingly, the Red Sox and Yankees are out front.
John Morosi of Fox Sports commented on his Twitter page Sunday, saying that the competition to land the lefty remains "fierce" while adding that the Red Sox and Yankees are leading the sweepstakes. He also noted that the Mets, Reds and Twins have all shown interest as well.
Both the Red Sox and Yankees could use a reliever like Downs, but early indications are making it look like acquiring Downs won't be easy.
ESPN's Buster Olney reported on his Twitter that so far the Blue Jays have "asked for high-end return for Downs because they think they should be compensated for the fact that he could be a Type A free agent. Some rival executives think that shouldn't matter, because they don't believe any team would surrender a first- or second-round pick for a non-closer. Boston and the Yankees are among the teams that have spoken with Toronto."
The fact remains that virtually all contenders are in need of relief help, so at least for now, the asking price for a reliever like Downs is going to remain costly.
Downs is having a good 2010 campaign, limiting opposing batters to a .223 batting average, and has been even better against lefties, holding them to a .189 batting average against.