The Detroit Tigers announced minutes ago they have traded second baseman Scott Sizemore to Oakland for left-handed pitcher David Purcey. Keep checking this post for updates. Danny Worth has been recalled from Toledo.
The 29-year-old Purcey has a 3.60 ERA with Toronto and Oakland this season. That is mostly due to the fact his ERA is 2.13 in 12 2/3 innings with the A's while his batting average for balls in play is about .200. But as we know, using ERA for relievers isn't necessarily the best idea. So a closer look at some rates in 2010 and 2011 shows a pitcher who strikes out around one in five batters he faces while walking about one in ten.
Purcey tends to be more of a fly ball pitcher. According to Fangraphs.com, he is projected to finish the season at a rate of a 4.70 ERA (4.32 FIP), striking out nearly a batter per inning while walking two batters every three innings.
Purcey is a somewhat hard-throwing lefty, though he wont' light up the radar guns as impressively as some. According to Fangraphs.com, his fastball averages around 92.5 mph. He mostly relies on that. This season he has been mixing in a slider at around 80 mph 12.8% of the time and a changeup of 83 mph about 6.6%.
Tigers CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski had a couple of quotes already circulating the media.
"They could not get Sizemore over the offensive hump."
"We've tried to get David Purcey for a long time."
That's one way of putting it about Sizemore. The theory was that his ankle had not healed completely after a fracture during Arizona Fall League play in 2009, but the 26-year-old did not perform any better this season than last. Sizemore was batting .222 with a .329 on-base percentage, .238 slugging average and 30% strikeout rate in Detroit this season. He batted .224 with a .296 OBP and .336 slugging with the Tigers last year. Most disconcerting might have been the complete loss of power so far this year, though it should be pointed out he had just 74 plate appearances so far in the Old English D.
So we move up to Danny Worth. He is a plus defender and can play three infield positions. But if you weren't impressed with the numbers Will Rhymes or Sizemore put in Detroit, there's little reason to believe Worth should do much better. Even with the Mud Hens he strikes out a lot and doesn't walk much. This is his only season of professional ball at Double-A or above where he's shown any power streak at all, and it's doubtful whether that's going to continue over the long haul. He doesn't exactly hit for average either.
According to David Hogg on Twitter, Dombrowski would not commit to Worth as his second baseman. A timeshare with Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn is possible.
So in the end, I am going to call this trade a slight improvement for the Tigers but nothing to really have strong feelings about. Assuming Worth plays second base somewhat frequently at least the defense improves. The hitting couldn't really turn out much worse than we've seen. And Purcey may give some help as a veteran left-hander in the bullpen.
However, I expect people will freak out anyway because that's what fans do.