May 27, 2011
May Swapmeet, Sizemore for Purcey
The best thing about May trades is that they seem kind of random. When the Detroit Tigers traded infielder Scott Sizemore to the Oakland Athletics for lefty reliever David Purcey this afternoon, no one saw it coming.
“This guy is being wasted at Triple-A.”
“Scouts still believe in the bat.”
“He deserves another shot.”
The biggest question is how Sizemore fits into Oakland's future plans. While he's seen as a second baseman, the position at which he's spent the majority of his time as a professional, that position is occupied by free agent-to-be Mark Ellis in Oakland, and 2008 first-round pick Jemile Weeks has been healthy and outstanding at Triple-A Sacramento, with his .322/.412/.454 line giving him likely first dibs at the position should Ellis get traded, or Oakland simply get tired of his non-productive ways. The guess here is that Oakland will give Sizemore a shot at the third base job, as they are now in their second year of trying to figure out why Kevin Kouzmanoff was never able to build on the somewhat promising seasons he had with San Diego. Currently hitting .198/.238/.333, he's one of many woeful performers in the Oakland lineup. While Sizemore would represent an upgrade at either position, he does have limited experience at the hot corner and fits better there for the A's, both in the near and long term.
As for Purcey, he certainly fits well with the Tigers' affinity for big guys who throw hard, but that has remained the sum of his skills as the 29-year-old is now far more known commodity than developing prospect. With a 92-95 mph fastball, Purcey can still bring it from the left side, but he's yet to find a dependable second pitch, and his control can come and go, with much more "go" in recent outings. It's hard to see him suddenly figuring things out at this point in his career, and his splits are not nearly dramatic enough to make him a future LOOGY. Further complicating matters is a tendency to elevate his pitches, a habit he'll pay for far more in Detroit than Oakland.
There is really no logic in the deal for the Tigers, as between Daniel Schlereth, Adam Wilk, and Charlie Furbush, they have plenty of capable left-handers in their bullpen, and merely being capable is the best they could hope for from Purcey. This is a case of a team getting too frustrated too soon with a prospect struggling in the big leagues, and Oakland swooped in on Friday afternoon to take advantage of the situation.