On February 11, 2019 Kyler Murray announced he was dedicating himself to football instead of pursuing a baseball career. Here’s a breakdown of what the MLB and NFL would look like if he chose to play baseball.
With the 9th overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft, the Oakland Athletics picked the 20-year-old outfielder, and he quickly signed a contact with the team including a $4.66 million signing bonus.
As of right now, things wouldn’t be too different in the MLB if he was currently with the A’s. Oakland still would’ve played in the Wild Card game against Tampa Bay last year and would be looking to make a playoff run next season.
Murray would be one of the top, if not the top prospect in their organization. It’s unlikely they would call him up to the majors until sometime in 2021, but that’s when things start to change. He would quickly become the best outfielder on the team, assuming he played up to expectations.
With stars like Marcus Semien, Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, and now Murray, the A’s would be in prime position to make the playoffs again. While it’s hard to say if they could win the division in the talented AL West, it’s likely they could get a Wild Card spot like they did in 2019 (especially with the expanded playoff bracket).
Maybe in a few years with prospects like A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo, existing talent and international signings like Robert Puason, Oakland would be able to make a World Series run with Murray.
Unlike the MLB, the NFL would have immediate changes. Since Murray was drafted to the A’s before he even announced he would play football, he wouldn’t have been picked by Arizona unless he signed a no baseball clause. Obviously in this case he wouldn’t because he’s playing with the A’s. It’s possible no NFL team would even have interest in him, since they wouldn’t be getting a guarantee he would play for them.
Where does this leave the Cardinals? With Murray out of the picture, Arizona takes a defensive star with the first pick. Either DE Nick Bosa who went 2nd or DT Quinnen Williams who went 3rd most likely would’ve gone first.
The Cardinals also stick with Josh Rosen for the 2019 season. The only other quarterbacks taken in the draft before the 100th pick were Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, and none of those guys seem to be what Arizona was looking for.
If things go well with Rosen, they mold him into their franchise quarterback. If not, Arizona takes whoever they could get in the 2020 draft, i.e. Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa.
Finally, the DeAndre Hopkins trade would never have happened. Hopkins and Murray are such a good fit for each other, and Rosen or a rookie QB definitely aren’t who the Cardinals want paired with the elite receiver.
Arizona is lucky to have Murray, and winning OROY is just the first step in his career.
While we can only speculate what baseball and football would be like if Murray went a different way, it’s interesting to think about the differences it would present.
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