Twins minor leaguer Paul Bargas dies of cancer

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This is truly awful: Twins minor league pitcher Paul Bargas has died of brain cancer. He was only 23.

Bargas was a 13th-round pick of the Rockies in 2009 and pitched at low Single-A in 2010. The Twins traded for him after that. He had to leave spring training in 2011 with what was first termed a “neurological condition,” but later diagnosed as cancer. He tried a comeback this past winter, but he never pitched in a game again.

The Twins released a statement earlier today:

“Paul had been battling a rare form of cancer for over a year and on Tuesday night he lost his battle. Paul was an incredible young man who displayed a phenomenal ability to stay positive through all of this and we at the Twins feel honored to have known him.”

Chip Scoggins of the Star-Tribune wrote a column about Bargas last winter.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.