For the third year in a row the Washington Nationals opened up the checkbook and added to their farm system by doling out tons of cash to their draftees. Monday night the Nationals and general manager Mike Rizzo succeeded in getting all three of their first/sandwich-round picks under contract. And all three were advised by super agent Scott Boras. In addition to that, the Nationals inked Matt Purke – a third rounder out of TCU – to a big deal as well.
The No. 6 overall pick, Rice infielder Anthony Rendon signed a major league deal worth $7.2 million over four years with an option for a fifth year. University of Kentucky right hander Alex Meyer was the 23rd overall pick, and he signed for $2 million. Brian Goodwin, a junior college outfielder, signed for $3 million as the No. 34 pick.
Meanwhile, Purke, was the 14th pick in the 2009 draft and agreed to a $6 million bonus with the Texas Rangers before it was rejected by Major League Baseball because of the club’s financial woes. Since then Purke has seen his stock plummet as he has had arm problems and his velocity as dipped considerably. Still, the Nationals took a calculated risk on the lefty starter and selected him in the third round (No. 96). Then, they gave him a major league deal worth $4.4 million last night.
All-in-all the Nationals spent $16.5 million – or roughly what Jayson Werth will make for the 2013 season – on their top five picks alone.
When you consider the fact that the Nats shelled out roughly $25 million combined to sign their top two picks in the past two drafts (Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper), it’s safe to say they’re going all-in to build a farm system.
The Nationals have taken a fair amount of risk in these contracts. Rendon’s power all but disappeared this year because of injuries, Meyer has a funky delivery that needs to be cleaned up and Purke has had major arm problems. But if most or all of the deals work out we could see a juggernaut in Washington.