Matt Purke Rumors

Nationals Release Matt Purke

The Nationals have released left-hander Matt Purke, according to the team’s transactions page. The 24-year-old Purke, who had been on the 40-man roster, underwent Tommy John surgery in late May.

Purke was a high-profile acquisition by the Nats in the 2011 draft, as he received a Major League deal and a total of $4.15MM ($2.75MM of which was in the form of a signing bonus) in the third round. The 6’4″, 215-pound southpaw was originally selected by the Ranges with the No. 14 overall pick in 2009, but he elected to attend college at TCU instead. Injuries are nothing new for Purke, as they were the main factor for his slide from the first round to the third round, although those concerns were pertaining to his shoulder.

Purke has totaled just 136 2/3 innings since being drafted in 2011, posting an even 5.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. He did pitch well in 90 innings in 2012, posting a 3.80 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, although his best work came at Class A Hagerstown. Baseball America ranked him 11th among Nats prospect a year ago at this time, noting that he’d lost some life on his fastball but still had a changeup that projected as above-average to plus and that he his floor was a big league reliever if he could stay healthy.


NL Notes: Diamondbacks, Mets, Zimmerman, Purke

As previously reported, before hiring Tony LaRussa, the Diamondbacks considered other candidates to slot in atop the club’s baseball operations structure or to take over directly for Kevin Towers as general manager. One candidate was former Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who notes that it is likely (but not certain) that Beinfest would have slotted into the GM role. Arizona also spoke with Braves advisor John Hart, says Rosenthal, though that was purely for purposes of dispensing advice.

Here’s more from Arizona and the rest of the National League:

  •  The April 2012 shoulder injury to then-Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young had widespread ramifications both for player and club, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Young, who had been off to a hot start that season, has never really been the same since. And the injury also led to then-teammate Justin Upton playing through a thumb injury. Upton’s step back that year, which could well have been injury-related, ultimately played a role in his departure, Piecoro observes.
  • If Young’s current team — the Mets — want to improve its offensive performance, the club needs to boost its spending, opines ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). With David Wright and Curtis Granderson eating up much of the team’s payroll space at its current spending levels, which reduces the team’s flexibility to add talent creatively without increasing its budget.
  • Confirming recent suggestions, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Nationals are planning to rotate Ryan Zimmerman between third, first, and left field when he returns from the DL. In addition to increasing the club’s ability to optimize the deployment of its position players, Washington hopes that Zimmerman’s future value to the team will see a boost from increased flexibility. The one-time stalwart at the hot corner, who has seen his defensive performance wane with shoulder issues, is in the first year of a six-year, $100MM extension that was agreed to before the 2012 season.
  • Nationals prospect Matt Purke will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter). The 23-year-old lefty has largely disappointed since the Nats gave him a $4.15MM bonus in 2011 to sign out of TCU. As Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes on Twitter, Purke — who signed a big league deal — will be out of options by the time he recovers from the procedure.

NL East Links: Purke, Jordan, Hood, Phils, Hatcher

Nationals left-hander Matt Purke traveled to Washington for an examination of his elbow this week and is slated to receive a second opinion from an outside physician, assistant GM Doug Harris tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Purke, a third-rounder back in 2011 that signed a $4MM Major League deal out of the draft, has dealt with injuries throughout his career, though most have been related to his shoulder. Those arm troubles date back to his college days, as they were the reason the one-time first-round pick (the Rangers took him 14th overall in 2009, but he elected to attend college at TCU) fell to the third round. Here’s more on the Nats and the rest of the division…

  • From that same piece, Kilgore dispels any concerns over right-hander Taylor Jordan, who was lifted from his most recent Triple-A start with soreness in his arm. Harris tells Kilgore that the decision was purely precautionary and they expect no further complications.
  • Nationals prospect Destin Hood is putting a down season in 2013 behind him, writes Lacy Lusk for Baseball America. Hood is playing his best baseball since being a second-round pick back in 2008, and he could force his way onto the 40-man roster at season’s end. Nats’ Triple-A manager Billy Gardner Jr. offered high praise for Hood when interviewed by Lusk.
  • In a special piece for BA, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury writes that Phillies catcher Willians Astudillo has burst onto the prospect scene with a strong offensive performance in the early stages of the 2014 season after missing all of 2013 with a knee injury. Astudillo battled his way onto the Class A Lakeland roster and has opened the season by hitting .368/.385/.500. Director of player development Joe Jordan loves Astudillio’s bat, but he makes it sound as though the 5’9″, 182-pound Venezuelan backstop needs some more work behind the dish.
  • MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes that right-hander Chris Hatcher is surprised to be back in the Majors after being designated for assignment and clearing waivers earlier in the year. “Wasn’t expecting [it],” Hatcher told Frisaro. “I was throwing the ball well down there. I’ll come up here and try to keep doing it and help the team get some outs.” Part of the reason for Hatcher’s surprise could be due to his off-field issues; the 29-year-old was in an altercation with teammate Sam Dyson where he hit Dyson and fractured his jaw. Hatcher tells Frisaro that he put himself in a tough spot professionally and as a person hope[s] to move on from it.”


NL East Notes: Nationals, Morrison, Thome

Top Nationals prospect Bryce Harper had to leave last night's Double-A contest with a hamstring injury and Washington's medical staff will re-evaluate the 18-year-old outfielder today. In the meantime, here are some links from the Nationals' division…

  • Former Nationals president Stan Kasten told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that the Nationals had an "awesome, fantastic" draft this year. Kasten found out that Nats pick Matt Purke looks up to Tom Glavine and was able to set up a talk between the two left-handers.
  • Scott Miller of CBSSports.com understands why the Marlins' decision to demote Logan Morrison has drawn so much criticism, but he isn't ready to criticize Florida's move himself. One Marlin told Miller that Morrison was behaving like a superstar before he had even become a star.
  • Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News wonders if Jim Thome could end up returning to Philadelphia this season and says there's probably a way to make it happen. "Now it's up to the Phillies to decide whether it makes sense from a competitive standpoint," Hagen writes.

Nationals Spend Big In Draft

The Nationals committed almost $17MM to their top six draft picks this year: $7.2MM to Anthony Rendon, $2MM to Alex Meyer, $4.15MM to Matt Purke, $3MM to Brian Goodwin, $325K to Kylin Turnbull, and $161,100 to Matt Skole.  The figures for Rendon and Purke reflect the guarantees on their Major League deals.  Links for the team's record draft bonanza:

  • "We're the talk of the industry right now," GM Mike Rizzo told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  Rizzo said he finalized deals with Scott Boras advisees Rendon, Meyer, and Goodwin "at the buzzer" last night.  Rizzo said that for the first time in his career, he signed four draft picks that he considers to be first-round talents.  Yesterday was "a huge day in the history of the Washinton Nationals," in the opinion of vice president of player personnel Roy Clark.
  • The Nationals had the parameters of a deal with Purke by late Saturday into Sunday morning, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.  The southpaw dropped to the third round due to a shoulder injury and his expected asking price, but was willing to allow the Nationals to fully evaluate his health.  Rendon will start his professional career at third base, notes Ladson.   
  • The Nationals' farm system now has depth and star power, writes Kilgore.

Nationals Sign Matt Purke

The Nationals signed third rounder Matt Purke to a four-year Major League deal, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). The deal is worth roughly $4.4MM.

The Rangers drafted Purke in 2009, selecting him 14th overall out of high school. The following season, Purke was named National Freshman of the Year at TCU.


Draft Links: Angels, Purke, Nimmo, Blue Jays, Cubs

We're closing in on Monday night's deadline to sign picks from the 2011 Draft. Remember you can see our updated list of first and supplemental round picks who have signed on MLBTR's sidebar, and here's some more of the latest news:

  • Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the Angels signed fourth-rounder Michael Clevinger for a $250K bonus — about $50K over slot. Clevinger is a junior college right-hander who throws 93-95mph.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo spent the weekend in Houston, negotiating with Peter Vescovo, the representatitve for third-round pick Matt Purke, writes the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Purke was originally drafted by the Rangers 14th overall in 2009 but elected to pitch at TCU and had some shoulder troubles this year.
  • A Mets official told ESPN's Adam Rubin that the organization is confident a deal with first-rounder Brandon Nimmo will be completed prior to the deadline. The Mets selected Nimmo, a high school outfielder from Wyoming, 13th overall.
  • The Blue Jays announced in a press release that the club has agreed to terms with three right-handers: third-round pick John Stilson, sixth-round pick Anthony Desclafani, and eighth-round pick Matt Biggs.
  • Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the Cubs agreed to terms with their 41st-round pick, Austin Urban, on a $100K bonus. 

Draft Links: Cole, Orioles, Phillies, Cardinals

The day of the First-Year Player Draft is finally upon us. Here's the latest news and rumors as tonight's event draws nearer …


Draft Notes: Hultzen, Purke, Lindor

Last year's top pick isn't arriving in the big leagues any time soon. Bryce Harper isn't going to play Major League baseball this year, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Washington's ESPN 980. "It's not going to happen, because he's not ready for that to happen," Rizzo said. Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com has the details from Rizzo. Here's the latest on this year's draft…

  • You've heard of Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen and UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, two possible first overall picks. Baseball America ranks other prominent draft-eligible pitchers, including Jed Bradley of Georgia Tech, high schoolers Daniel Norris and Henry Owens, Tyler Anderson of Oregon and Matt Purke of TCU. Every one of those southpaws is a first round talent, according to BA (subscription required).
  • Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Purke hopes to pitch tomorrow in TCU's final regular season series. He has been sidelined with a sore shoulder and last pitched April 16th.
  • MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo provides scouting reports and video on 50 of this year's top prospects. 
  • Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com provides a list of top draft-eligible middle infielders, led by high schooler Francisco Lindor. Churchill can't imagine Lindor falling past the Mets, who select 13th overall.

Quick Hits: Dodgers, Willis, Purke

After consecutive disappointing seasons, Kyle Lohse is averaging nearly 8.0 IP per start this year and has a 1.64 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Lohse, who signed a $41MM deal with the Cardinals in 2008, is living up to his contract so far in 2011. Here are today's links…

  • Tom Schieffer says he wants to be helpful, not disruptive, when he takes over the Dodgers' day to day operations and finances, according to Quinn Roberts of MLB.com. Earlier today, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt sounded intensely displeased with MLB's involvement in L.A.
  • Dontrelle Willis does not have an out clause in his contract with the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The left-hander has a 1.12 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 24 innings at Triple-A Louisville so far in 2011.
  • TCU is set to announce that left-hander Matt Purke has been cleared to return to the mound, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. That's excellent news for Purke, who was recently shut down with shoulder soreness and evaluated by Dr. James Andrews. Click here for MLBTR's Q&A with Purke.