|Image courtesy of The Star|
It must be tough saying goodbye to a player drafted as a first round pick, but it’s not something the Blue Jays are completely foreign to (see Russ Adams). Unfortunately, David Purcey’s journey as a Blue Jay just didn’t pan out.
There literally were no other options for David Purcey; it was either bullpen or bust for him. Two and one-third innings in itself doesn’t warrant being designated for assignment, but the Blue Jays backs were up against the wall with Purcey.
As a former starter converted into a reliever, one could argue David Purcey’s current incarnation as a reliever wasn’t all that high anyway. Some of us pined to have him as the future closer of this team, and I’ll admit that looked to be the eventual end game for him.
However, along the way something happened that derailed those plans that saw David Purcey becoming an elite relief pitcher. I have a feeling it had something to do with all those damn walks.
Looking back through Purcey’s career as a Blue Jay, I think my fondest memory of him traced back to his complete game in Tampa Bay on August 27th, 2008. It was a phenomenal performance wherein he matched perennial Blue Jay killer Matt Garza pitch for pitch.
While Garza was busy stymieing the Blue Jays bats, Purcey was whiffing the Rays to the tune of 11 strikeouts. He only surrendered one run, but Garza and the Rays bullpen combined to surrender zero. It was a battle for the ages.
At the time it appeared to be the turning point for Purcey. In his seven previous starts to that point, he gave up a combined 25 runs and walked 21 guys. In Purcey’s final five starts of the 2008 season, he only allowed 8 walks the duration of the season.
However, those walks reared their ugly head once again to begin the 2009 campaign, which lead to a very rough month of April from David Purcey. He was called back up to Toronto in September, but it was more of the same.
Things looked promising last year when he made his way into the bullpen, but I guess his leash as a reliever must have been much shorter than we thought.
I don't doubt David Purcey will still have a fruitful career within another organization, it's just that the Blue Jays have given the 28 year old chance after chance. And there are much younger pitchers in farm system who are just as hungry to prove their worth on the roster.
With that, I bid David Purcey adieu. I'm positive it won't be long before Purcey will be back on his feet again with his size 18 shoes.