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.