When the Washington Nationals released Matt Purke last week, it made sense that if he cleared waivers he might come back on a minor league deal. After all, the move cleared a spot on the Nats' 40-Man roster, and the Nationals know him well and are familiar with his medical history since it was the Nats who signed him to a 4-year/$4.15M major league deal after selecting the lefty in the third round of the 2011 Draft, two years after he went 14th overall to the Texas Rangers and at the end of a sophomore season at TCU which saw him struggle with a shoulder issue.
Purke opted for college over signing with the Rangers in '09, after unsuccessful negotiations with the team, which at that point had Major League Baseball overseeing the organization's finances.
Purke worked his way back from surgery on his shoulder in 2012 only to suffer a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow this past season.
Just days after his release, after he cleared waivers, Purke re-signed with the Nationals on Monday, this time it was a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo, who drafted Purke in the 3rd Round, after only 1st Round picks Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin, said in a statement on the deal on Monday that he was glad the 24-year-old left-hander would be continuing his rehab with Washington.
"'We are excited to keep Matt in the organization and to keep his rehab on track,'" Rizzo told Amanda Comak at Curly W Live. "'We look forward to seeing him rebound from his surgery during the upcoming season.'"
Now on to the links, though there wasn't a whole heck of a lot written about the Nationals on Monday. There was, however, big news in the division with Atlanta making a huge-ish trade and Miami spending record sums...
• Most of what was written in NatsTown yesterday centered on Purke's return:
• "The left-hander became a top prospect in college, was worn down by his heavy college workload and hurt his shoulder." - "Nationals sign Matt Purke to a minor league deal" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Now that he’s off the 40-man roster, though, Purke won’t have to use up any options when sent to the minors, buying himself more time to rehab from his injury..." - "Nationals re-sign Matt Purke to minor-league contract" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Purke said he does not feel sorry for himself after all the injury setbacks he has battled through. He said he's positive he can return to his pre-injury form and even pitch better." - "Nats re-sign Purke to minor league deal (updated with quotes)" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Purke has dealt with injuries since he was drafted, enduring shoulder and elbow problems before undergoing Tommy John surgery in late May." - "Purke signs Minor League deal" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "The Nationals, who have a wealth of experience in successfully rehabbing pitchers after the ligament replacement surgery, look forward to Purke continuing his progress in their organization." - "Nationals sign LHP Matt Purke to Minor League contract with invitation to Major League Spring Training" - Matt Purke, Curly W Live
• Kolko was part of the funniest moment in NatsTown in 2014 according to our recent poll:
• "Nationals left-hander Jerry Blevins has made three appearances for Team USA in the Japan Series, which is still going on across the globe." - "Nationals Pastime: Some Monday morning notes" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• NATS BEAT:
• "A rotation of Alex Wood, Julio Teheran, David Hale, [Shelby] Miller and, whenever they return, Beachy and Medlen, is young and capable." - "Does Jason Heyward’s trade weaken the Braves, help the Nationals?" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Below are the Nationals’ four biggest transactions of the 2013-14 offseason. It’s time to evaluate how those worked out in the end…" - "Revisiting last offseason’s major acquisitions by the Nationals" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "It was noted by one ESPN reporter that Stanton will make about $68,000 a day over his 13-year deal. Goodness, gracious." - "Nationals Pastime: Interesting happenings within the division" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• NATSTOWN + Fish Stories:
• "Bill Dutch, the team's president and CEO, says the Syracuse club re-established itself during the 2014 International League season and will enjoy brighter days down the road." - "Syracuse Chiefs will report to shareholders today with happier news than they unveiled a year ago" - Bud Poliquin, syracuse.com
• "Over the weekend, a group of 10 people created a nine-foot replica of a Jayson Werth gnome at Reagan National Airport using $3,800 worth of canned seafood." - "Nats fans make 9-foot homage to Jayson Werth out of $3800 worth of canned seafood" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post
• Braves: "Heyward never quite lived up to the hype, and now he's heading to a team looking to bounce back from tragedy." - "Heyward to Cards, Braves get Miller in 4-man deal" - Paul Newberry, www.ajc.com
Hart: "...we got a quality starting pitcher for four years in exchange for a quality position player for one year."— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 17, 2014
• "'It was very difficult to trade Jason Heyward, but this deal was made to help us not only in the short term, but also in the long term as we move forward,' Hart said." - "Braves acquire Miller, send Heyward, Walden to Cards" - Mark Bowman, MLB.com
Thank you to the Cardinals and their Fans for some great seasons and memories. Best of luck to the guys and the organization!— Shelby C Miller (@ShelbyMiller19) November 17, 2014
• "Maybe we should have seen this coming. It was pretty clear that the Braves were going to trade an outfielder this winter..." - "The Fascinating Jason Heyward/Shelby Miller Swap" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball
• Phillies: "Even the best possible outcome in a Cole Hamels trade may not be worth too much." - "Catz corner: A Hamels deal in 2017 looks like what exactly?" - Joecatz, The Good Phight
• Mets: "New York could trade some pitching for some needed offensive help, and Syndergaard is too talented to send back to Triple-A for a second season." - "Pipeline Perspectives: Castillo, Syndergaard the next ROYs" - Jim Callis, mets.com
• Marlins: "The Miami Marlins, whose name had become synonymous with fire sales, with the smallest payroll in baseball, suddenly are going gaudy South Beach on us." - "Marlins buy credibility with Stanton deal" - Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports