2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, selected by the Athletics in the 2018 draft, is believed to be leaning towards pursuing a football career. The Athletics will try to convince him to stick with baseball, as club executives will meet with Murray in Dallas on Monday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Tomorrow marks the deadline for Murray to declare for the NFL draft.
Murray went ninth overall in last year’s draft, earning a $4.66 million signing bonus from the A’s. If Murray does decide to pursue a football career, the A’s would be in an unfortunate position as they would not get a compensation pick for losing him, unlike when a team fails to sign its pick. As a result, Murray has a lot of leverage and could use it to procure more money from the A’s.
The NFL combine is in late February and the draft is in late April. It makes a lot of sense for Murray to commit — at least publicly — to football just to see how high he goes in the draft. Some mock drafts have him going in the first round. Those with a less rosy outlook suggest his height could be a limiting factor as a quarterback.
No matter what he decides to do on Monday, the Athletics still expect Murray to report to spring training, playing in the outfield.
Update: According to WFAA’s Mike Leslie, Murray is seeking $15 million from the Athletics to stick with baseball. Whether the A’s bite remains to be seen.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.