Business: Purke.

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It’s a secondary story right now – a massive (and not
unwelcome) departure from what we’ve been used to around here – but the
negotiating period for the 2009 draft closes tonight at 11 p.m. Central in most
cases (the Rangers’ supplemental first-rounder, Tanner Scheppers, being a key


There has been a methodical series of optimistic reports
since Draft Day regarding the Rangers’ chances of signing top pick Matt Purke,
the lefthander from Spring Klein
High School, but last night
ESPN’s Keith Law ran this note:


“The Rangers are not optimistic
about signing first-rounder Matt Purke, who will probably head to TCU and
reenter the draft in 2011 as a draft-eligible sophomore.  The two sides are
still more than a million dollars apart.”


Now, there are still plenty of reasons to believe that
this will get done, in much the same vein as last year’s 11th-hour
deal with first-rounder Justin Smoak that had hit reported snags in the final


One, Purke is advised by SSG (Select Sports Group), a
Houston-based agency owned in part by Nolan Ryan’s business partner Don


Two, Purke reportedly held off from attending freshman
orientation at TCU yesterday, ensuring that he wouldn’t shut talks with the
Rangers down (reporting to college would extinguish his eligibility to sign) –
though orientation evidently continues today, and Purke is in town.


Three, part of the reason Purke has been in town is so
that he could submit to a club physical over the weekend.  Purke (who reportedly
met with Ryan) passed his physical, getting that step out of the way as the two
sides go into today’s effort to finalize a deal. 


The bigger, more immediate story tonight is Tommy
Hunter-Francisco Liriano, of course, as Texas
comes off a series with Boston that was one pitch away from a Rangers
sweep and nonetheless ended with the Rangers atop the Wild Card standings, but
the Purke situation is big.  Consider this two-month period in


May 20, 2007:
Rangers sign Derek Holland for fourth-round money 50 weeks after taking him in
the 25th round – and one week before his negotiating window would
have slammed shut and he would have transferred from Wallace State-Hanceville
Community College to Arizona State


June 7, 2007:
Rangers draft Julio Borbon in supplemental first round (35th


July 31, 2007:
Rangers acquire Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz from Atlanta in the Mark
Teixeira trade


That was just two years ago.  The addition of those 18-,
19-, 20-, and 21-year-olds – a juco pick, a college pick, a Class A teenager,
and a rookie-level teenager – to the system were, in some cases, praised
immediately, and in others, mentioned nowhere but a local minor league
newsletter or two. 


That’s not to say those moves were overlooked, or
dismissed.  But even the most homeriffic, Rangers-centric among us couldn’t have
imagined that, as soon as Saturday night, August 15, 2009, that quartet would
key what some are calling this club’s biggest win in five


The player development train doesn’t slow down, not even
for a pennant race, and today is a really big day on both


We’ll keep you posted with Purke-related news flashes
today and tonight, as warranted.





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(c) Jamey Newberg

Twitter  @newbergreport


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