Kyler Murray’s decision to pursue an NFL career certainly shook the sports world on Monday, but nobody more than the entire Oakland Athletics organization.
The decision will have particularly clear ramifications for Oakland’s minor league affiliates, including the Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters. They were pretty sad to see Murray go, and they made it pretty clear in an amusing Twitter post.
He’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar
— Vermont Lake Monsters (@VTLakeMonsters) February 11, 2019
The Lake Monsters probably are disappointed to miss out on Murray, as he would’ve been a big draw. Ultimately, though, he always seemed like he preferred to play quarterback in the NFL, and he’s now decided that he’s going to do just that, much to the disappointment of baseball fans.
Position players are scheduled to report to training camp on Friday with the Oakland A’s, and the team is still uncertain if first-round pick Kyler Murray will be among them.
According to Carrie Muskat of The Associated Press, Murray has a locker and a No. 73 jersey waiting for him at Oakland’s facility. However, the A’s do not know if Murray intends to report to camp later this week, and general manager David Frost said Sunday that team executives have been in contact with the former Oklahoma star’s family.
Murray is likely trying to get a better idea of what his chances are of being a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Pursuing a career in football makes more sense financially if he will be selected in the first round, as the guaranteed money he would receive from the team that drafts him will be about the same as what the A’s have offered him. If Murray does decide to go through with playing football, teams will have to be certain he is not going to change his mind before they consider spending a high pick on him.
Considering Murray is reportedly planning to attend the NFL Scouting Combine later this month, it would be a surprise if he reports to training camp with the A’s. While he still could play baseball, the way some NFL executives feel about him will probably make playing football an easier decision.
MLB does not want to lose a talented player to another sport and is working with the Oakland A’s on ways to entice Kyler Murray to choose a future in professional baseball.
MLB officials and the Oakland A’s were set to meet on Sunday with Kyler Murray, the Oklahoma Sooners quarterback who is weighing a future in pro baseball or football. Murray was drafted No. 9 overall by the A’s in the June MLB draft and given a $4.66 million signing bonus. The A’s allowed him to play football in the fall, and he exploded with a tremendous season that now has him considering a potentially lucrative future in the NFL.
According to one report, Murray was seeking $15 million from the A’s to stick with baseball.
How could the A’s make that happen? According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the A’s could put Murray on their 40-man roster, which would allow them to pay him a Major League contract rather than a minor league contract as is the case for most draft picks.
During a meeting in Dallas today, the possibility of Oakland guaranteeing money in addition to Murray's $4.66 million signing bonus was raised, sources tell ESPN. To do so, Oakland would need to add Murray to its 40-man roster. He still could develop in the minor leagues.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2019
Signing bonus aside, minor league players only make a few thousand dollars a month, if that. A first-year player in the minors who is on the MLB 40-man roster would make somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 per year. Perhaps MLB would allow the A’s to pay Murray a bonus that comes out of their 2019 payroll rather than have them limited by the total amount of money in their draft bonus pool.
As of the most recent CBA, MLB and the MLBPA created a rule that would allow teams to give out Major League contracts to draft picks in special circumstances such as this, where players have offers in multiple sports.
The deadline for a player to declare for the NFL Draft is Monday, which has created this pressure for the A’s.
If Kyler Murray is going to stick with baseball, he’s going to make the Oakland A’s pay.
Murray and the A’s are set to meet on Sunday to discuss his professional future. According to Mike Leslie of WFAA, Murray wants $15 million guaranteed from Oakland otherwise he will enter the NFL Draft.
According to a source close to the situation, Kyler Murray’s number is $15M.
He wants big time money to stick with baseball, otherwise he will enter the NFL draft tomorrow.
The A’s are doing everything they can, sending their top brass, led by Billy Beane, to meet with him.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) January 13, 2019
The A’s put themselves in this situation by selecting Murray No. 9 overall in the MLB Draft and then letting Murray play football in the fall for Oklahoma. Murray exceeded almost all expectations, putting up a brilliant season that culminated in him winning the Heisman Trophy and taking the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. He played so well that he’s a legitimate first-round NFL prospect and potentially in the mix to go first overall.
Murray has all kinds of leverage. The A’s would only recoup the bonus money they’ve paid to Murray if he does not join the team, but they wouldn’t get their pick back. They’d be in a bad spot. They should spend some of their revenue share money, pay the man and bring him into pro baseball.
Kyler Murray is said to be strongly considering the possibility of entering the NFL Draft and pursuing a career in football, and the Oakland A’s are hoping they can change the star quarterback’s mind.
The A’s drafted Murray with the No. 9 overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, and they agreed to allow him to play one more season at Oklahoma. Murray’s agent, Scott Boras, has said all along that Murray is committed to playing baseball, but that no longer seems like a guarantee. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the A’s were scheduled to meet with Murray on Sunday recruit him, in a sense.
The Oakland #Athletics have a contingent, led by president Billy Beane, meeting today with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray in hopes of persuading him to forego the #NFL and play baseball for them. They drafted him 9th overall last summer and gave him a $4.66 million bonus.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 13, 2019
Murray’s chances at immediate success in the NFL seem greater than they would be with baseball, and he is reportedly planning to enter the NFL Draft. Unless health is his main reason for choosing baseball over football, he probably has an easier path to making big money in the NFL, especially with what we have heard about how NFL executives feel about him.
If Murray does choose football, he would have to pay back the more than $4 million bonus the A’s gave him. Oakland would not, however, receive a compensatory draft pick.
The Oakland A’s have reportedly acquired infielder Jurickson Profar from the Texas Rangers in a three-team trade.
Profar is the centerpiece of the trade, with the Tampa Bay Rays also involved and several players changing teams. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has the details:
Full trade, sources tell Yahoo Sports:
Oakland gets: Jurickson Profar
Texas gets: Brock Burke, Eli White, Kyle Bird, Yoel Espinal, international $
Tampa Bay gets: 38th pick in 2019 draft, Emilio Pagan, Rollie Lacy
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 21, 2018
Profar, who has had difficulty staying healthy during his MLB career, had by far his best season last year. He appeared in 146 games and batted .254 with 20 home runs and 77 RBI. Interestingly enough, it was the Rays who expressed interest in trading for him last winter, but they did not end up with him in Friday’s deal.
Profar has two more years of arbitration before he is eligible to become a free agent in 2021. The 25-year-old is a career .240 hitter. He could either play second base full-time for the A’s or be used as a utility infielder.
The rumored reunion between the Oakland Athletics and Sonny Gray does not look to be happening, at least for now.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Athletics have spoken with the New York Yankees about Gray, but the talks have no momentum at the moment and nothing is close.
Sources: #Yankees, #Athletics have had contact about a deal that would send Sonny Gray back to Oakland, but there is no present momentum in talks. Oakland is looking for pitching and clearly comfortable bringing back former A’s (Cahill, Anderson, et al). @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 16, 2018
Things could, of course, change at any moment. It’s not really a secret that the A’s would like to bring Gray back at the right price, but there are plenty of considerations that go into this. It’s worth keeping an eye on, but for the moment, there’s nothing going on.