OAKLAND -- The A's made a move on Friday to acquire a possible future option at third base, when they sent left-handed reliever David Purcey to the Tigers in return for infielder Scott Sizemore.
Sizemore, a former fifth-round Draft pick by the Tigers, was recalled by Detroit earlier this month but struggled in 17 games with the club, hitting just .222 with four RBIs. While the Tigers gave up on a player who was supposed to be the franchise's second baseman of the future, the A's liked what they saw in the 26-year-old infielder.
"He's quite a prospect coming up," A's manager Bob Geren said on Friday. "He had a great year in 2009. ... He's had years where he's had some extra-base hits, some doubles, homers. He's a guy that I've heard his name mentioned many times, and a lot of people think highly of him."
The 2009 season Geren referred to saw Sizemore hit .308 with a .378 on-base percentage in 71 games with Triple-A Toledo, while earning the Tigers' Minor League Player of the Year honors. The young right-handed hitter had similar production for the Mud Hens in 2010, when he hit .298 and sported an identical on-base percentage to the prior season in 78 outings.
Sizemore spent the latter part of last season with the Tigers, playing in 48 games. In 65 career Major League games, Sizemore batted .223, with three home runs and 18 RBIs. But this season in Triple-A, Sizemore was hitting .405 and led the International League with a .495 on-base percentage.
However, he struggled with his swing since being recalled by the Tigers, and his struggling offense was part of the reason the Tigers made the deal to send him to the A's.
"As I told Scotty, we just can't get him over the hump from an offensive perspective with us, so maybe a change of scenery will help him," Detroit president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
"Just couldn't really find my stride," Sizemore said of his struggles this season. "I felt like I was starting to swing good for a couple days, then had a setback or two. Just couldn't really get it to click, and that happens over the course of a baseball season. You're not going to hit good forever. You're going to have hot streaks. You're going to be in slumps. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to carry out my hot streak long enough up here. I guess this is the result of it."
Geren said Sizemore will first see some time at Triple-A Sacramento before he gets a chance to join the club in Oakland. The A's skipper added that the team's new acquisition will focus on playing third base -- a position he has fielded in the past. Though primarily a middle infielder, Sizemore saw 11 games at the hot corner with Triple-A Toledo last year, and had a perfect fielding percentage during that stint.
"Everything sounds great about him, and I'm looking forward to seeing him someday," Geren said after lauding the A's front office's track record in scouting players.
While the A's were able to snag a young prospect they think highly of, it cost them a left-handed arm out of the bullpen in Purcey. He was acquired by the A's earlier this season from Toronto, where he struggled early, and saw his numbers improve in nine outings with the A's. Purcey pitched 12 2/3 innings and gave up nine hits and three runs for a 2.13 ERA. For the season, right-handed batters are hitting a paltry .108 in 11 innings against Purcey, while lefties are hitting .400 in four innings.
The Tigers had been interested in acquiring Purcey since he landed in Oakland, and Dombrowski said the Tigers periodically called the A's to gauge their interest in a trade. It wasn't until Sizemore was brought to the table a couple of days ago that Oakland was willing to bargain.
Taking Purcey's spot on the A's 25-man roster is lefty Bobby Cramer, who was recalled from Sacramento. Cramer was on the A's Opening Day roster, but was optioned to Sacramento on April 25 after recording a loss and a 2.45 ERA in three relief appearances. The southpaw gives the A's another arm they can stretch for long-relief appearances.
"I think it's one of those trades where I'm sure both teams are very happy with what they acquired," Geren said.
"It's a new chapter in the story, a new opportunity," Sizemore added. "Gonna try to make the best of it, like always."
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.