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MLB Draft 2011: Nationals Draft Matt Purke, But Will They Be Able To Sign Him?

The Nationals have been nothing if not aggressive in this 2011 MLB Draft. They took Anthony Rendon in the first round despite some injury issues causing him to slide, and they went back to that well in the third. With the 96th overall pick, they took Matt Purke, a left-handed pitcher out of TCU. But will they be able to sign him, and how much is it going to cost?

Coming out of high school, Purke was the 14th overall pick in the Draft, but turned down a $4 million signing bonus from the Rangers to play at TCU. Coming into this year, he was viewed as a lock to go in the top-ten as a draft-eligible sophomore, and a legitimate candidate for the No. 1 overall pick. But he had some shoulder issues (bursitis) and that caused him to last until the third round, where the Nationals were happy to take him.

One would have to assume that it is going to take a very serious financial commitment from the Nationals to lure Purke away from TCU. If he is healthy next year, he could pitch his way back into the top ten, and could make the money that comes with being that high a pick. The Nationals will have to give him a contract that is good enough to make Purke comfortable with being a third round pick, which will be considerably above slot, or the recommended amount a team pays each pick.

The Nationals have shown over the past few years that they aren't afraid to do that. They gave Strasburg and Harper record breaking contracts, and even paid well above slot for middle round guys like A.J. Cole and Sammy Solis. If they are able to get Purke under contract, and he can stay healthy, than he would be the undisputed steal of this Draft; even better then Rendon at six. But that's a couple of pretty big if's.