WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 01: Manager Davey Johnson #5 and general manager Mike Rizzo of the Washington Nationals talk before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on July 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Asked on the Twitter Thursday night if he thought Washington's 2011 1st Round picks [Anthony] Rendon, [Alex] Meyer, [Supplemental Round pick Brian] Goodwin, and [3rd Round pick Matt] Purke would all eventually sign with the Nats before the August 15th midnight deadline, Baseball America's Jim Callis (@JimCallisBA), for the second time this week, said he thought three of the four would sign.
"Yes, yes, yes, no," Mr. Callis wrote on the Twitter with the "no" of course on Purke, the '09 1st Round pick by the Rangers who fell to the third round this year after failing to sign with Texas, going to college and suffering a shoulder injury which limited him to just 11 starts and 52.2 IP in 2011 in which he was (5-1) with a 1.71 ERA, .187 BAA, 61 K's (10.42 K/9) and 20 walks (3.42 BB/9) after a freshman year in 2010 in which he was (16-0) with 142 K's (10.99 K/9) and 34 BB (2.63 BB/9) in 20 games, 18 starts and 116.1 IP.
Baseball America's Mr. Callis, asked earlier this week in a BA Q&A for updates on a few of the Nationals' picks, wrote that he doesn't, "... think Purke is going to sign for less than he turned down [out] of high school, so I don't think he's going to sign. He's competitive enough to take his chances of returning to full health, which could make him the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft."
• Quick Refresher: Texas' GM Jon Daniels, in an article by MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan entitled, "Purke chooses TCU over Rangers", after Texas failed to sign Purke, wrote that "The Rangers made an offer of a $4 million bonus in the final minutes leading up to the deadline. Going into the last day of discussions, Purke was looking for at least a $6 million signing bonus." According to Dallas Star-Telegram writer Jeff Wilson, in an article written six months later, the Rangers and Purke, "...had agreed before the draft to a $6 million deal, well above the slot money for the No. 14 overall pick, and owner Tom Hicks gave his approval,":
"That was in June. By July, Major League Baseball was overseeing the Rangers’ finances and had the final say on all transactions beyond what had been budgeted.
"When the Aug. 17 deadline to sign Purke arrived, the commissioner’s office wasn’t going to budge."
Baseball America's Jim Callis wrote on the Twitter in April that it was, "Never clear if reported $4 mil offer at end would have been approved." Either way, Purke decided to attend Texas Christian University (TCU), where he spent the last two years before the Nationals drafted the left-hander.
Before this year's draft, Nationals' owner Mark Lerner spoke to Washington Post writer James Wagner, telling him, as recorded in an article by the WaPost's Adam Kilgore entitled, "Mark Lerner: Nationals won’t shy from players with ‘signability issues’", that in the 2010 Draft the Nats, "... had great luck in going after kids with signability issues like A.J. [Cole] and Robbie [Ray], and hopefully we’ll have the same opportunity again this year if the opportunity presents itself." The Nats' owner wasn't talking about Matt Purke in particular.
"With the signability situation with Purke and some of the health issues that he had," D.C. GM Mike Rizzo explained in an interview after the Draft on 106.7 the FAN's The Mike Rizzo Show with Overtime's Bill Rohland, "With Purke sitting there in the third round pick for us at [no.96) which is a protected pick, meaning that if he doesn't sign we get that pick again next year, we felt it was time to roll the dice on Purke."
Purke decided not to pitch in the Cape Cod League this summer, as had been expected, so Baseball America BA writer Jim Callis wrote a few weeks back in another, "Ask BA" chat that, "Washington will have to determine what it's willing to pay Purke based on workouts and not extended game action."
The Nats' GM, whose front office had outspent the league in draft bonuses for two years running, told the 106.7 the Fan's Bill Rohland that the Nats were, "...going to make a great effort to get [Purke] signed," and said that if all the Nats' top picks (including Purke, 3B Anthony Rendon, taken 6th overall, RHP Alex Meyer, taken 23rd and OF Brian Goodwin, the 34th pick), signed then the Nationals, "... feel that we really had probably the most impactful draft that I've ever been associated with."
Will the Nationals pay Purke enough to convince him not to go back in the Draft? It was a different situation with last year's 4th Round pick, A.J. Cole, who had a commitment to pitch at the University of Miami, as opposed to Purke's injury issues, raise questions of signability, but the Nationals gave the 4th Rounder a record $2M dollar signing bonus to get him signed.
"'We thought he was a top talent that should have gone higher and we paid him accordingly,'" Nats' Assistant General Manager Roy Clark told MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an August 17, 2010 article entitled, "Nationals sign Solis, Cole before deadline." "'We feel he has a chance to move very quickly and we are very happy to bring him to DC,'" Clark said. If the Nats feel the same about Purke and satisfy themselves as far as his shoulder, will they offer enough to get Purke signed?