With one trade, the Detroit Tigers are attempting to address two spots on the roster. Second baseman Scott Sizemore was dealt to the Oakland Athletics Friday afternoon in exchange for pitcher David Purcey.
Purcey is a left-handed reliever who's pitched quite well since the Toronto Blue Jays traded him to Oakland in mid-April. With the A's, he's compiled a 2.13 ERA with seven strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. Overall, he has a 3.60 ERA, striking out 10 batters in 15 innings. Walks have been a problem for him in his career, as he's averaged 4.5 per nine innings.
He also has experience as a starter, having started 21 games between 2008-09 for the Blue Jays. Tigers fans might remember him pitching quite well against their team. In four career starts versus Detroit, Purcey is 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 23 innings. No wonder Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has had his eye on him for a while.
Dave Dombrowski: "We've tried to get David Purcey for a long time."
Purcey was almost certainly acquired to help out the Tigers' bullpen, however. Could he be a left-handed specialist? Well, maybe not. Lefties are batting .400/.455/.400 in 22 plate appearances against him this season. For his career, opposing lefties have hit .234/.340/.326 against him. But with Charlie Furbush and Adam Wilk already on hand, along with Daniel Schlereth, Detroit's relief corps is well stocked with left-handers. (And what about Brad Thomas, who's on the DL?)
Maybe we're burying the lede, though. Is the bigger story that the Tigers finally gave up on Sizemore, who was supposed to be their second baseman of the future?
For whatever reason, whether it was the pressure of replacing Placido Polanco or the level of play in the major leagues, Sizemore just hasn't been able to succeed over the past two seasons with the Tigers. After being called up in May to replace Will Rhymes, Sizemore had an outstanding debut, batting 3-for-4 against the Yankees. Since then, however, he hasn't been able to produce consistently.
As of Friday, Sizemore's average was .222/.329/.238 with no home runs and four RBIs. Obviously, that's not good enough. And it's especially baffling for a player whose hitting was supposed to be the best part of his game. Before being called up to Detroit, he was batting .408/.495/.605 with Triple-A Toledo and looked like he could provide soem punch to the Tigers' lineup.
Alas, that didn't happen. Is Sizemore the proverbial "Quadruple-A" player? It's too early to tell, but the early returns haven't looked very promising. Sizemore will be assigned to Oakland's Triple-A club for the time being, according to Jason Beck.
Who is the Tigers' second baseman in the meantime? Danny Worth was recalled from Toledo to take Sizemore's spot on the active roster, but will not be available for Friday's game against Boston. (Ramon Santiago was already penciled into the lineup for Detroit.) Worth was batting .270/.344/.443 for the Mud Hens and provides reliable middle infield defense for the Tigers.