David Purcey Rumors

Quick Hits: McCourt, Abreu, Sizemore, Purcey

A night after striking out four times in four plate appearances, Adam Dunn walked in all four of his plate appearances in Friday's 4-2 loss to Toronto.  If we're sticking to a pattern of Dunn's "three true outcomes," then theoretically, Dunn should hit four home runs against the Blue Jays tomorrow.  Set your fantasy lineups accordingly!

Some news from around the majors as we go into the weekend…

  • Frank McCourt will be able to meet the Dodgers' May 31 payroll, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  One of Shaikin's sources says McCourt is still looking to secure the funds to meet the next payroll deadline on June 15.  If McCourt fails to meet payroll, Major League Baseball will seize control of the team from the embattled owner and cover the payroll itself.
  • With Bobby Abreu on pace to easily reach 433 plate appearances and cause his $9MM option for 2012 to vest, the Angels will owe $48MM in 2012 to Abreu, Vernon Wells and Torii HunterMark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com thinks allowing Abreu's option to vest "would be just another poor long-term decision for a GM [Tony Reagins] that seems to be specializing in them," and wonders why the Halos would tie so much money up in the outfield when their top prospect (Mike Trout) is an outfielder and Peter Bourjos is in the picture.
  • In his analysis of today's Scott Sizemore-for-David Purcey trade, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that the Tigers first contacted the Athletics about Purcey on the very day that Oakland acquired the left-hander from the Blue Jays.  The deal was a natural match since "the A’s long have had interest in Sizemore," and plan to convert him to a third baseman.
  • Matthew Eddy of Baseball America wraps up the week's minor league transactions.
  • Joe Girardi said he could move Nick Swisher into a platoon with Chris Dickerson if Swisher doesn't pick up his hitting from the left side of the plate, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com.  Swisher still has four months to get on track, but right now it looks like there's no chance the Yankees will pick up his $10.25MM option for 2012.
  • Ryan Drese was granted his release by the Orioles earlier today, and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports the veteran righty is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Astros.

Tigers Acquire David Purcey For Scott Sizemore

The Tigers have acquired left-hander David Purcey from the Athletics for second baseman Scott Sizemore, the teams announced. The move provides the Tigers with another left-handed relief option and gives the A's second base depth behind the struggling Mark Ellis. In related moves, the Tigers called Danny Worth up and the A's called Bobby Cramer up.

Purcey, a 2004 first rounder, arrived in Oakland last month, after the Blue Jays designated him for assignment. He has a 3.60 ERA for the A's and Blue Jays this year with a 10K/7BB ratio through 15 innings. Last year, the 29-year-old posted a career-best 3.71 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 34 innings out of Toronto's 'pen.

Sizemore has been Detroit's everyday second baseman since getting the call to the Majors in early May. He has a .222/.329/.238 line in 74 plate appearances this year, which is similar to the batting line he produced as a rookie in 2010 (.224/.296/.336). A fifth round pick in 2006, Sizemore has a .301/.387/.453 line in the minor leagues.

The Tigers currently have three left-handed relievers on the active roster: Daniel Schlereth and recent additions Charlie Furbush and Adam Wilk (Brad Thomas is on the DL). Wilk and Furbush debuted this week and Purcey has pitched more MLB innings than Schlereth and Thomas combined, so he'll provide manager Jim Leyland with something of a known commodity.

Athletics Acquire David Purcey

The Athletics acquired lefty David Purcey from the Blue Jays for minor league reliever Danny Farquhar, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The deal is now official.  The A's cleared a space on the 25-man roster by putting Dallas Braden on the DL, and gained a spot on the 40-man by transferring Rich Harden to the 60-day DL, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

Purcey, 29 in a few days, was designated for assignment by the Jays last week.  He drew "very strong" interest, according to GM Alex Anthopoulos.  The former first-rounder is out of options, so the A's must keep him in the Majors or attempt to pass him through waivers.  Purcey, who switched to the bullpen to start the 2010 season, has battled control problems for much of his career.  He's always posted strong strikeout rates, averaging 92-93 miles per hour on his fastball since converting to the bullpen. 

Though they sandwiched an elbow strain, Purcey's '07 and '08 stints in the minors did include good control.  Purcey seemed to be on to something in '08, finishing the season in the Majors and tossing a couple of eight-inning gems.  MLB.com's Jane Lee has a bit more on Purcey, after talking to A's assistant GM David Forst.

Farquhar, 24, returns to his old organization after a brief stint this year as a Sacramento River Cat.  The A's had acquired him in November as part of the Rajai Davis deal with Toronto.  He posted a 3.52 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 4.9 BB/9, and 0.8 HR/9 in 76 2/3 Double-A relief innings last year.  Baseball America ranked him 22nd among A's prospects, noting that his "defining characteristic is his use of two different arm angles."

Quick Hits: Purcey, Mariners, Cruz, Rays

Links for Friday, as we celebrate the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's MLB debut. Robinson's Hall of Fame career began 64 years ago today, when he broke baseball's color barrier…

  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos continues to talk to teams about David Purcey and tells Rogers Sportnet's Shi Davidi (Twitter link) that there is "very strong" interest in the left-hander.  Purcey was designated for assignment earlier this week, and Anthopoulos said he expects to use all 10 days of Purcey's DFA period exploring trades.
  • The Mariners are still searching in vain for a cleanup hitter to anchor their lineup, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times
  • Jonah Keri of Fangraphs looks at some players who parlayed "a small sample of greatness — a stretch-run tear, monster playoff performance, even a single game or play — to big paydays" and how none of these signings worked out for their respective teams.
  • Now that Josh Hamilton is on the disabled list, it's Nelson Cruz's chance to carry the Rangers, Jon Paul Morosi writes at FOX Sports.com.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that the Rays figure to have a tougher climb to the top of the AL East standings than the Red Sox.
  • Is Troy Tulowitzki the best player in baseball? Rob Neyer of SB Nation asks a legitimate question and says it'd be hard to argue that there's a better player to be found right now.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post

Blue Jays Expect To Trade Purcey; Astros Interested

10:10pm: The Astros are interested in Purcey, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (on Twitter). Houston is one of the potentially interested teams I speculated on earlier tonight.

6:36pm: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Barry Davis of Sportsnet that he expects to deal recently designated reliever David Purcey within the next ten days instead of allowing another team to claim the left-hander on waivers (Twitter link). The Blue Jays designated Purcey for assignment earlier today, which means they have ten days to trade him, release him or, if he clears waivers, assign him to the minor leagues.

It seems likely that Purcey will draw interest, since he posted a 3.71 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 34 innings last year. The former first rounder has a 92 mph fastball and is still just 28. Left-hander Garrett Olson, another first round selection, was snapped up off of waivers last month, after the Mariners made him available.

However, Purcey has an 11.57 ERA with three strikeouts and four walks in 2 1/3 innings over the course of five appearances so far this year. Worst of all, he allowed two hits and a walk to the four batters he faced in Seattle last night, allowing the Mariners to start an unlikely comeback.

Possible Destinations: David Purcey

The Blue Jays expect to trade David Purcey within the next ten days, and while not every team has interest in adding a struggling reliever, some clubs may be intrigued by Purcey's successful 2010 season and wonder if he can repeat it.

The first ten days of the 2011 season have been disappointing for Purcey, and Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos designated him for assignment today. However, the former first rounder pitched well a year ago, posting a 3.71 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 33 appearances for the Blue Jays.

Teams like the Mariners (one), Royals (one), Astros (one) and Tigers (two, including the struggling Brad Thomas) have limited left-handed relievers at the big league level, but they aren't necessarily the clubs that could use Purcey most. The left-hander has a reverse platoon split in parts of four Major League seasons, meaning he does better against right-handers (8.4 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 vs. RHB career, 8.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 vs. RHB last year) than left-handers (6.9 K/9, 5.6 BB/9 vs. RHB career, 9.2 K/9, 7.1 BB/9 vs. LHB last year).

Overall, Purcey induces more fly balls (48.5%) than ground balls (31.3%), so he could be a fit in a big ballpark like Citi Field or Petco Park. Both the Mets and the Padres are carrying a single left-handed reliever at the moment and could be intrigued by Purcey (though he is not your typical left-hander).

Mets executive J.P. Ricciardi selected Purcey 16th overall in the 2004 draft when he was Toronto's GM. A lot has changed in seven years, so the hard-throwing 28-year-old may no longer appeal to Ricciardi. But Purcey carries more upside than, say, Ron Mahay, so it won't be surprising if the Mets or some other club takes a chance on him.

Blue Jays Designate David Purcey For Assignment

The Blue Jays designated David Purcey for assignment, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). Toronto recalled Casey Janssen and Brad Mills and officially placed Rajai Davis on the disabled list in related moves.

Purcey faced four batters in last night's ugly loss to the Mariners, allowing two hits and a walk. Though Purcey entered the game with the Blue Jays leading 7-1, the Mariners scored five runs in the eighth because of his poor performance and bases loaded walks by Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski. The Mariners completed the improbable comeback to win 8-7.

In five outings this year, Purcey has an 11.57 ERA with three strikeouts and four walks in 2 1/3 innings. The left-hander was considerably more effective in 2010, when he posted a 3.71 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 34 innings. The 28-year-old went 16th overall in the 2004 draft.

Blue Jays Aim For Bullpen Depth

San Diego's relievers combined to strike out more than a batter per inning over the course of the 2010 season, while limiting hits, walks and homers. Manager Bud Black saw five of his relievers appear in 30 or more games and emerge with ERAs under 2.00 at the end of the season and the Padres' NL West rivals weren't the only ones to notice.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says he'd like to have a deep bullpen in 2011, like the Padres did last year. He says he's happy to keep more relievers than usual on his roster this year and that the acquisition of Frank Francisco doesn't mean a trade is imminent. The Blue Jays' plans for their relievers haven't changed.

"No impact at all," Anthopoulos said yesterday on a conference call to announce the acquisition of Francisco from the Rangers. "They're all quality relievers and we love having depth in the bullpen one through seven."

Or maybe one through eight. The Blue Jays have discussed the possibility of opening the season with an eight-man bullpen to accomodate their arms and provide manager John Farrell with a variety of options. Though the Jays could open the year with an extra arm in the 'pen, Anthopoulos said a traditional seven-man ensemble is more likely at this point. The Blue Jays' rotation is relatively young and inexperienced, so the team's front office would like to support starters like Brett Cecil and, possibly, Kyle Drabek with steady relief pitching.

"It's certainly part of it," Anthopoulos said. "We don't want to overtax our young starters."

The Blue Jays don't want to overtax their relievers, either. Anthopoulos says there can be a ripple effect when teams have deep bullpens. If every reliever is capable of performing in meaningful situations, no pitcher gets overused. But Anthopoulos has no illusions; even qualified, well-rested relievers struggle and the 2011 Blue Jays won't be any different.

"We all know that they will get hurt," he said. "Some of them won't perform. They'll have bad months."

Take Jason Frasor (pictured), one of the holdovers in the team's new-look bullpen. He walked nearly a batter per inning in April, 2010 and posted an 8.38 ERA through the season’s first month, but recovered from his turbulent start and put together a fine year. He'll join Francisco and free agent signings Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel, the relievers Anthopoulos expects to compete for the Jays' closing job.


Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen and Carlos Villanueva are also right-handed relievers under team control for $1MM-plus in 2011, so the Blue Jays have a surplus of big league arms and could hear from pitching-starved teams before the season begins.

The Jays have seven established right-handed relievers, but Toronto's left-handers have considerably less experience. David Purcey, an out-of-options 28-year-old, was reasonably effective in 2010. He's a leading candidate to make the club, though his walk rate and fly ball rate have been high throughout his brief MLB career. Jo-Jo Reyes is also out of options, but he has made just 11 relief appearances as a pro. Jesse Carlson, who was a mainstay in 2009, could also crack the team's roster.

While their AL East rivals to the south, the Rays, had to lower payroll this offseason and rebuild their bullpen on a budget, Anthopoulos reaffirmed that he has the flexibility to ask for more money if necessary. The Blue Jays can continue spending on their bullpen, even as their young starters become more expensive.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

David Purcey Drawing Attention

Blue Jays lefty David Purcey is "drawing attention from clubs," tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Rosenthal also notes that the Cubs had a scout on hand Sunday for Jason Frasor's ugly Sunday stint (four hits and four earned runs in a third of an inning).  Rosenthal says Frasor was under the weather during the appearance.

Purcey, 28 in April, was J.P. Ricciardi's first-round pick in 2004.  He posted respectable strikeout rates at most minor league stops, but was plagued by control problems.  He seemed to figure it out by his third Double A stint in '07, trimming his walks per nine to 2.3.  However, surgery to remove cysts in his forearm and triceps cut that season short.  Purcey kept the walks down the next year at Triple A, and showed flashes of brilliance in his '08 MLB debut season.  The '09 season was a step back, with Purcey losing his rotation spot by May due to his walk problem.

Now MLB.com's Jordan Bastian says the Blue Jays have trimmed Purcey's repertoire and are leaning toward making him a reliever.  Once the Blue Jays' #3 prospect, Purcey's outlook has been downgraded over the years by Baseball America from a potential #2 starter to a mid-rotation guy to a reliever.  He still brings the power stuff that made him a first-round pick in '04, and there might be another club out there with ideas on fixing his command.