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April 12, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

Jays Designate David Purcey For Assignment

by R.J. Anderson

Toronto Blue Jays

Designated RP David Purcey for assignment. [4/12]
Placed OF Rajai Davis on the disabled list. [4/12]
Promoted RP Casey Janssen and RP Brad Mills from Triple-A Las Vegas. [4/12]

Whenever a team loses a six-run lead over the final two innings, someone involved is going to take the fall. Such is the case with the Jays after Purcey, Octavio Dotel, Mark Rzepcyzsnki, and Shawn Camp combined to hand a victory to the Mariners. The odd man out is Purcey, who fittingly started the fire by allowing two hits (one to Michael Saunders and another to Jack Wilson) and walking Brendan Ryan on four pitches.

When not being assaulted by the dreck of poor lineups, Purcey can be an effective reliever.  He spends his time throwing a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a slider. Purcey is a big fellow, at 6’5”, and a former first-round pick who has the tendency to lose the zone. Combine Purcey’s pedigree, stuff, and past results (33 relief appearances 2009 resulted in a 3.71 ERA and a 2.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio) and it seems unlikely he would pass through waivers, so look for the Jays to attempt trading him before the 10-day window passes.

With Davis going to the DL for a sprained right ankle, the Jays chose to roll with 13 pitchers. Mills is a lefty, making him the spiritual successor to Purcey. The two are nothing alike otherwise, as Mills is reliant upon his ability to spot pitches and deals with lackluster velocity (Pitch-f/x data has his average fastball around 86 miles per hour), which makes his major league career walk rate of 5.7 batters per nine innings startling (albeit in a 30-inning sample).

Janssen is a righty who pitched well for the Jays last season (68 2/3 innings with a 3.67 ERA and 3.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio).  His sinker sits in the low-90s and he isn’t a bad arm to have available, but his skill set feels a little redundant with Camp already in tow.

Unlike the Mets, who also decided to proceed with a pitcher-heavy roster, the Jays rotation has managed to go deep into ballgames. Only once has a Jays starter left before completing five innings, and that came a week ago today. These moves to add arms are not about reinforcements, but reshuffling the deck chairs before Frank Francisco returns.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

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