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BOSTON – Jeter Downs was rated the No. 1 Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline shortly after the 2020 trade that sent perennial All-Star Mookie Betts to the Dodgers.

The Red Sox certainly bought into Downs’ high status, which is why they completed the controversial trade when the shortstop was included in the package by Los Angeles. However, Downs failed to live up to his promise during his three years in the Boston farm system.

“This was tough,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. “The fact that he was in a position where we considered him and selected him for appointment, I think speaks to the difficulty we had in getting him on track.

“I still think there’s a lot of physicality there, but we haven’t been able to get it open consistently. Of course, he’s still young and there’s no reason to write him off, but he’s obviously had some struggles.”

What Downs has struggled with the most is hitting. He hit .190 at Triple-A Worcester in 2021, and his average hit just .197 in the same affiliate last season.

The 24-year-old made his MLB debut in 2022 when the Red Sox were decimated by injuries, and he had the memorable moment of producing the first hit of his career. ninth against the Yankees. A few minutes later, he scored on a run.

In 14 games, Downs, a center fielder, hit just .154 with a homer and four RBIs for Boston.

“I’m glad he was able to make it to the big leagues with us, glad he was able to spend a moment with us here at Fenway, help us win a big game,” Bloom said. “It’s been a lot of fun for a lot of people, but obviously we haven’t been able to get him that success as consistently as anybody would have liked with Jeter.”

Bloom was asked if the DFA was tougher to swallow given he was one of three pieces to appear for Betts, joining Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong, who are still with the club.

“I don’t think it changes the decision because at the end of the day, we have a responsibility to every player in this organization to make sure they all make the right decision when we make decisions for the organization,” Bloom said. “There’s no doubt he was a big part of a really significant trade and that we didn’t get him to the level we hoped for, but at the end of the day, we want to do right by all of our players and the organization. “.

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