Or not, whatever.
One bit of housecleaining in line with the title - the rumor persists the Jays are about to sign Octavio Dotel. I was vocal in saying a few weeks ago that if the rumors said we were interested, we weren't. I dismissed the report out of hand. I'm still suspiscious but they seem very insistant so maybe I had that wrong. My take on it, if true, is "meh." Dude is too old to impress me, but I will refrain from negativity given that I was underwhelmed by Gregg, Buck, and Gonzalez a year ago as well. Also, I note in passing that the Brewers got my guy Saito (yes I know he's older than Dotel, shaddup) for less money - but maybe Saito didn't want any more of the AL East?
Now, the title actually refers to another thought, and that was my call for trading for Mike Gonzalez. Mind you, I stand by everything I said there - but there might be another option more than $5 million cheaper to close for the Jays in 2011 and surely it's worth going with that kind of savings.
One of the things I love about blogging is when you get in an exchange on a forum and in the course of discussing some particular thought, you discover fodder for a post, well, like this one. I had had an emotional interest in this happening since the middle of last year but I've not tried to make a case for it because I thought it was basically just me rooting for one of my "pet" players. However, a poster on a forum mentioned him in a mildly negative light tonight and I looked into the claim and found a lot more goodness than I expected.
What if I told you that the Jays already had a pitcher that:
1. Had a 2.67 ERA on the season if you take away 1/3 of an inning from his 2010 record?
2. Inherited 19 runners and allowed only 3 to score - and only 1 of the last 16?
3. Pitched in the 8th inning 16 times, accumulating 12.2 IP, and wasn't charged with a single run?
4. in 10 at bats n save situations, he allowed ONE BASERUNNER?
5. In his last 25 appearances, he gave up 11 earned runs - but 4 of them came in that one fateful 1/3 of an inning.
6. Take away his two worst appearances, and his ERA for the rest of the season was 1.93?
Furthermore, this is not some out-of-left-field flunky without a pedigree or clippings, this is a first round draft pick - this is David Purcey and absent an acquisition better than Dotel, deserves a clean shot at being the jays closer in 2011 and beyond.
If you look closely at Purcey's season, that 1/3 of an inning in which he put on 4 base-runners and gave up 4 earned runs throws off almost all of the bulk stat lines like "second half" stats and "in the ninth inning" stats. he had another 1 IP outing on September 8 in which he gave up 3 runs, again in the ninth. Outside those two appearances he pitched 9 innings in the ninth and gave up 2 earned runs. What was otherwise a wildly successful season (actually, more like 2/3 of a season since he wasn't called up until very late May) was disguised by two bad days.
It's true that for comparison you can do that to many good pitchers and get great results - take away Kevin Gregg's two worst outings and his 2010 ERA is 2.48, but then Gregg is considered a pretty good pitcher.
I've been criticized before for picking and choosing my number sets, and I fully agree this sort of thing can be over applied or mis-applied. But I also contend that there's a HUGE difference between a guy with a 4.00 ERA who gives up a run or two in more than half of his appearances, and a guy who holds the opposition scoreless night after night and once or twice or three teams a season get's totally waxed. Give me the latter pitcher every time.
In short, while I wouldn't cry about the acquisition of a "proven" closer, in the absence of such a player (and Dotel ain't it) my battle cry is "Free David Purcey!!"