MLB bend­ing rules for Mur­ray, A's to reach deal

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS - Joe Mus­satto jmus­[email protected] ok­la­homan.com

Ma­jor League Base­ball and the Oak­land Ath­let­ics have moved all-in to se­cure Kyler Mur­ray’s ser­vices as the clock ticks to­ward Mon­day’s dead­line to de­clare for the NFL draft.

A steady trickle of news leaked Sun­day as Mur­ray and agent Scott Bo­ras met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the A’s in Dal­las. MLB mar­ket­ing executives were also present, ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple

re­ports.

Mur­ray, with the con­tract he could sign as a pro­jected first-round NFL draft pick, has lever­age in base­ball ne­go­ti­a­tions. Per­haps enough lever­age to bend the con­trac­tual rules of base­ball, and how the sport han­dles re­cently drafted play­ers.

Well be­fore Mur­ray won the Heis­man Tro­phy while quar­ter­back­ing Ok­la­homa to a Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off ap­pear­ance, Oak­land se­lected the speedy out­fielder with the ninth over­all pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Mur­ray was given a $4.66 mil­lion sign­ing bonus.

How­ever, the A's could of­fer Mur­ray a ma­jor league deal on top of his orig­i­nal sign­ing bonus and mi­nor league con­tract. It would be a fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive for him to forgo foot­ball in fa­vor of base­ball.

ESPN’s Jeff Pas­san first re­ported that Ma­jor League Base­ball would waive a rule, for Mur­ray, that pre­vents teams from giv­ing ma­jor league con­tracts to re­cently drafted play­ers.

Pas­san then clar­i­fied. "MLB tech­ni­cally would not be waiv­ing a rule for Kyler Mur­ray," he tweeted. "The rule pre­vents ma­jor league con­tracts for drafted play­ers. Mur­ray signed a mi­nor league con­tract.”

Oak­land would have to add Mur­ray to its 40-man ros­ter if he signs a ma­jor league deal.

The A’s could select Mur­ray to their 40-man ros­ter “be­cause the team did not con­tem­plate or dis­cuss such a pos­si­bil­ity as an in­duce­ment when it orig­i­nally signed him,” Ken Rosen­thal of The Ath­letic re­ported.

Mur­ray hit .296 with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases last sea­son for the Soon­ers.

“The no­tion of a player who has never taken an at-bat in the mi­nor leagues wind­ing up with a big league deal shows

how spe­cial a sit­u­a­tion Kyler Mur­ray's is,” Pas­san tweeted. “It's not just the Oak­land A's in­vested in him. It's Ma­jor League Base­ball, too. Mur­ray in MLB would be a coup."

Mike Les­lie, a reporter from Dal­las TV sta­tion WFAA, re­ported that Mur­ray is seek­ing a $15 mil­lion deal.

Su­san Slusser of the San Francisco Chron­i­cle re­ported that $15 mil­lion is too high, "but the A's and Mur­ray's rep­re­sen­ta­tives are work­ing on try­ing some­thing cre­ative to ac­com­mo­date him,"Sluss er re­ported.

Slusser added that any agree­ment be­tween Mur­ray and the A’s would have to be ap­proved by MLB.

“I ac­tu­ally hope the A’s can get it done,” a ri­val MLB gen­eral man­ager told Rosen­thal. “It would be good for the game for Mur­ray to play base­ball.”

Though sources told The Ok­la­homan that OU coaches don’t ex­pect Mur­ray to re­turn for his senior sea­son, he would still main­tain a fi­nal year of el­i­gi­bil­ity if he doesn’t de­clare for the NFL draft.

For­mer Dal­las Cow­boys ex­ec­u­tive Gil Brandt laid out a sce­nario to The Ok­la­homan in which Mur­ray re­ports to the A’s, plays his sea­son in the mi­nor leagues, and then re­turns to Nor­man to play foot­ball shortly be­fore the 2019 sea­son be­gins.

[PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Ma­jor League Base­ball and the Oak­land Ath­let­ics have moved all-in to se­cure Kyler Mur­ray’s ser­vices as the clock ticks to­ward Mon­day’s dead­line to de­clare for the NFL draft.

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