David Purcey Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.