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Reporting Soon: Pitchers, Catchers, And... Quarterbacks?

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5’8 3/4”?
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

So in less than 3 weeks, pitchers and catchers will report to spring training. For the A’s, their batteries still look less like Duracell and more like “Joe’s Discount Batteries” but hey, that’s the A’s way and sometimes it works.

Tired as I am of the story — and it has barely even begun — the talk of even FanFest around February 15th wasn’t a pitcher reporting or a catcher reporting, but rather a quarterback. You may have heard of him.

The Kyler Murray “which sport will he choose???” story is already starting to feel a bit like a west coast version of Derek Jeter. “Will Jeter brush his teeth tonight with Colgate or Crest. Stay tuned as we follow this developing story!” Hey, at least the A’s are in the news, I guess.

Let me weigh in with my opinion as to whether Murray will ultimately choose baseball or football: I don’t know. But that’s because there’s a decent chance Murray doesn’t know yet either. I have the possibilities narrowed down to 3 in my mind. One works against the A’s, one works in the A’s favor, and one has yet to be determined.

1. It may be that Murray’s heart simply lies in football. Here I don’t mean the glitz of Monday Night Football in 2020 versus long bus rides through Podunk, or the lure of immediate salary over projected earnings three years down the road. I mean he may just love football in a way he does not love baseball, and even if his head says, “Don’t CTE me” his heart says “follow the yellow brick hash marks”.

In this scenario, Murray is using baseball to leverage football and the A’s are but pawns. I hope this scenario is not the correct one, but it does make my “final 3”.

2. It may be that Murray, thanks in part to influence from his parents and in part to his ability to grasp basic scientific fact, knows that football carries with it too much risk of permanent injury and a low quality of life after age 40. Murray has been compared to Rickey Henderson and one can hope that a quality they share is parents who will can an athlete who wants to play football and make a baseball player out of them.

In this scenario, Murray is using football to leverage baseball and some NFL team is about to waste a draft pick on him. This scenario may not be likely, but if it were to be true you would have to look back and say that Murray and Boras have succeeded in using football to get the best possible baseball deal — especially if the A’s decide to place Murray on the 40-man roster straightaway, thus accelerating his timeline to the big leagues (for better or worse in terms of his development).

3. While either of the first two scenarios are plausible, I tend to lean with this last one: that Murray’s decision will be informed greatly by where he falls in the NFL draft — which means we may not really know anything until late-April.

Projections around where Murray will be drafted vary widely from scout to scout. If, as some predict, Murray is one of the top 5-10 picks in the entire draft, it is hard for me to imagine he will say no both to the associated money and also to the belief in his abilities long term. Similarly if, as others predict, Murray falls to the 3rd round (or lower) it is a referendum on his ability to translate his Heisman Trophy college season to the pros and a significant hit on his predicted earnings, and I think he would have to choose baseball.

There is, of course, room in between that constitutes a very gray area. Compounding matters, it is quite likely Murray will be drafted late in the 1st round or in the 2nd round. Then perhaps we truly learn where Murray’s heart is and how much he values his future head. But I can see him being picked high enough, or low enough, that the draft position alone informs Murray’s decision.

So perhaps the decision has already been made long ago, and Murray is just leveraging one against the other until he can’t use that tactic anymore. Or maybe we still have 3 months (to the day) of genuine uncertainty and endless articles pontificating about his preferred brand of toothpaste.

And that’s all I have to say about Kyler Murray until I see him in the uniform of an A’s affiliate.

Poll

Which scenario do you suspect is at play?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    #1: He is leveraging baseball and already knows he will choose to go to the NFL
    (151 votes)
  • 4%
    #2: He is leveraging football and already knows he will choose to play baseball
    (24 votes)
  • 53%
    #3: His decision will be determined by where he falls in the NFL draft
    (312 votes)
  • 16%
    He will go to the NFL, fail, and wind up back with the A’s later
    (98 votes)
  • 0%
    He will choose baseball, fail, and wind up returning to football later
    (3 votes)
588 votes total Vote Now