Murray Ditches The A’s For The NFL
Former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Kyler Murray officially released a statement yesterday announcing that he is choosing to play football exclusively over baseball and is now solely focused on becoming an NFL quarterback. As Jeff Passan of ESPN reported, Murray will now have to give back approximately $1.29 million of his $1.5 million signing bonus. He was also due $3.16 million on March 1, which he now will forfeit, notes Passan.
The A’s will proceed to put Murray on their restricted list in order to retain his rights, but will not receive a compensation pick, although they lost their first rounder, writes Passan. Murray was selected by the Oakland Athletics as the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft last June and signed a $4.66 million contract, which allowed him to play his junior football season for the Oklahoma Sooners.
He declared for the NFL Draft on January 14 and yesterday ended any speculation about which sport he would choose by ultimately committing to follow his passion of playing the quarterback position in the NFL.
Despite Murray’s verbal commitment, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the A’s are not ready to give up on losing him just yet and plan on staying regularly engaged with the Heisman Trophy winner’s camp throughout the draft process. If it comes down to the highest bidder, the A’s ultimately have the ability to offer the most money on a guaranteed contract along with the addition of draft bonus money, as Rosenthal also notes.
Yankees Still in on Machado
While the Yankees are not OUT on Machado, as was previously reported several weeks ago, there is still reason to believe that he will take the highest offer, which will not be coming from the Bronx. The Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies are still the front runners to land Machado, with Chicago allegedly having a discussion with him last month about a potential nine-year deal worth over $31 million a season.
An individual source that is close to Machado also commented on the Yankees offer as being “low” in comparison to what the 26-year-old is currently looking for.
A’s Sign Nick Hundley
Yesterday morning, veteran catcher, Nick Hundley agreed to a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics, which includes an invite to major league camp this spring training, per team announcement. As Sussan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the deal is worth $1.25 million if he reaches the big leagues.
Hundley spent last season with the San Francisco Giants, where he put up a line of .241/.298/.408 with a 91 wRC+ to go along with 10 home runs and 31 RBI. The 35-year-old catcher provides depth to a weak area on the A’s 40 man roster, where they only carry two unproven backstops in, Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann.
Although top catching prospect, Sean Murphy could soon make his major league debut, he spent all of last season in Double-A, so it can be assumed they will continue to develop him at the Triple-A level until he’s fully ready to come up to the big league club. Murphy hit .285/.361/.489 with a wRC+ of 131 and eight home runs and 43 RBI last year in 73 games.
Anderson Has Deal With A’s
Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the Oakland Athletics are bringing back starting pitcher Brett Anderson on a major league deal. Slusser first reported the sides were close. It’s a one-year deal and is pending physical.
Anderson has suffered from a slew of injuries over the course of his ten year career and nonetheless missed time last season with a shoulder injury. In 17 starts last year, the 31 year old lefty went 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA, 4.17 FIP, and 1.282 WHIP.
Stephen Vogt to the Giants
After losing their backup catcher in Hundley, the San Francisco Giants have signed catcher, Stephen Vogt to potentially fill this void on a minor league deal, as Janie McCauley of The Associated Press first reported. According to McCauley, Vogt is on his way to Giants spring training in great health after coming off right shoulder surgery last May.
Vogt has not appeared in the majors since 2017, but was an All-Star in back-to-back seasons in 2016/17 with the Oakland Athletics. In these two seasons, Vogt averaged a stat line of .256/ .322/.424 along with a wRC+ of 102.5.
After not playing in almost two years, the 34-year-old catcher is now allegedly healthy and ready to go compete for the backup catcher spot with Aramis Garcia and former Met, Rene Rivera, who was just recently signed by the team to a minor contract, as well. These three options will also provide insurance due to the question mark of All-Star catcher, Buster Posey’s readiness to start the season after coming off of hip surgery last August, where the initial recovery time was deemed 6-8 months.
Blue Jays Make an Offer to Romo
The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly made an offer to free agent closer, Sergio Romo per Jon Morosi of MLB.com and Jon Heyman of Fancred, who was the first to report the Jays interest in Romo last week. Morosi also notes that there are several teams interested in Romo, as well, including the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers.
Romo closed out games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season recording 25 saves and striking out 75 batters to go along with his 4.14 ERA, 4.04 FIP, and 1.262 WHIP in 67.1 innings. The 35-year-old also started 5 games as the Rays were the first of several teams to test out the opener strategy in 2018, where they only use their relievers instead of a starting pitcher.
Romo spent nine of his eleven seasons with the San Francisco Giants from 2008-2016, where he made one lone All-Star appearance and most importantly helped them win three World Series titles, while recording 84 total saves.
Eric Young Signs with Orioles
In his tenth season last year, Young struggled mightily producing a stat line of .202/.248/.303 along with a wRC+ of 51 in just 41 games. The soon to be 34-year-old is best known for his speed with 162 career stolen bases, which could be a valuable asset coming off the bench for the Orioles if he makes the big league club.
AJ Ellis to Retire for Baseball Ops Role With Padres
This news comes as a surprise due to the eleven year veteran’s steady production as a player. Ellis played for the Padres in his final season last year and produced a solid line of .272/.378/.344 with a wRC+ of 105.
Ellis is best known for his unique relationship with three-time CY Young award winner, Clayton Kershaw, whom he caught in 829 innings while playing nine seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers.