Getty Images

Report: Kyler Murray ‘leaning toward’ football

25 Comments

Henry Schulman and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle report that the Oakland Athletics expect their 2018 first-rounder — and 2018 Heisman Trophy winner — Kyler Murray to declare for the NFL Draft.

Does this mean that Murray will choose football over a professional career in baseball? Not necessarily, but a source told the San Francisco Chronicle that he is currently “leaning toward” an NFL career. Previously it had been reported that he was more likely to play baseball than football.

It’s possible that Murray is simply keeping his options open, but the calendar is worth noting: spring training begins in mid-February, the NFL combine is in late February, and the draft is in late April. His stock would likely be much higher in the draft if he has committed to football. At the same time, with the draft in the near future, declaring for it in the run-up to spring training could provide some sort of leverage for him with the A’s, though the form that pressure might take is unclear given that they have control over him for several years if he decides to play baseball. We talked recently about the pros and cons of a football vs. baseball career for Murray here.

Murray hit .296/.398/.556 over 189 at-bats for Oklahoma’s baseball team in 2018. He tossed 42 touchdowns and threw for 4,361 yards for the football Sooners. He projects as a center fielder. Some football minds have suggested he may be too short to be an effective NFL quarterback.

He has a big decision to make. At the moment, though, he’s leaning toward the NFL.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

Jason Miller/Getty Images
1 Comment

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.