Pulling the Parachute on David Purcey

Image courtesy of The Star

I guess the Toronto Blue Jays had enough of David Purcey’s free fall and finally decided to pull the parachute.

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.


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

6 thoughts on “Pulling the Parachute on David Purcey

  • April 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    "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."

    …and then on September 7, he faced Garza again at the Rogers Centre. It was another very good performance in which the final score was 1-0 for the good guys. This was one of my favorite games I've attended. The buzz at the RC was awesome. Just a great game.

  • April 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    LJ, ah yes … I forgot about that one! Back to back pitcher's duels between Garza and Purcey. David definitely held his own that day, I would've felt bad if he didn't get the W.

    It also makes me grateful that Matt Garza is pitching for the Cubs now and won't torture the Blue Jays any more.

  • April 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Historical BABIP

    2008: .307 (5.54 ERA, 4.67 FIP)
    2009: .327 (6.19 ERA, 5.03 FIP)

    BABIP by months in 2010:

    June: .161 BABIP (2.45 ERA, 4.81 FIP)
    July: .250 BABIP (0.96 ERA 2.54 FIP)
    Aug: .308 BABIP (8.31 ERA, 2.62 FIP)
    Sept/Oct: .364 BABIP (6.48 ERA, 4.04 FIP)

    I just don't know about Purcey. Outside of a few months, Purcey's had an average to below average MLB career.

    I wonder if somethings wrong with David.

    His usually slider rate is around 15%. This season its 4.5%

    AA doesn't mess around with relievers. He'll trade them 7 days a week.

  • April 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I'm a bit surprised by this move, it almost seems like an over reaction to the lead the Jay blew against to Seattle.

    Personally I would have dropped Dotel before Purcey just on the fact that Purcey has a better chance to be useful beyond this season.

  • April 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Nav, same here, brother. And nice video find. Very apropos for this particular situation.

    Matthias, I had no idea Purcey's BABIP was so high for so long. It's just way too consistently high for him to be "unlucky". Nothing really stellar from Purcey.

    Peter, it could very well have been. Purcey only threw 2.1 innings so far this year. I don't imagine demoting Dotel would sit very well, especially considering the type of "player-friendly" reputation AA is trying to build.

    Purcey probably would've had a half-decent season, but at the end of the day I think that's the best we could've ever hoped for him.

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