Athletics

A's Billy Beane reveals he has Kyler Murray on his fantasy football team

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AP

A's Billy Beane reveals he has Kyler Murray on his fantasy football team

SAN DIEGO -- Kyler Murray still has a fan in Billy Beane.

After Murray spurned a potential MLB career with the A’s to play quarterback in the NFL, Beane admits that he still holds a fondness for his former prospect and enjoys watching the now-Arizona Cardinals QB play football. 

“I love it, I text him -- he’s on my fantasy team,” Beane said at the MLB Winter Meetings on Monday night. “I texted him, I said ‘I gotcha again.’ He texted me back and just gave a big heart.

“He’s a great kid.”

Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations, was paramount in Oakland selecting Murray with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, believing the dual-sport athlete would thrive as a speedy outfielder at the big-league level. The A’s signed Murray to a contract with a $4.66 million signing bonus, which also allowed him to continue playing football that fall at Oklahoma.

But Kyler put on a show for the Sooners on the gridiron and never looked back. Murray won the 2018 Heisman Trophy, throwing for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and running for another 1,001 yards with 12 scores.

After months of speculation about whether he would declare for the NFL draft or continue his commitment with the A’s, Murray decided on Feb. 11 that he would focus entirely on his football career, forgoing baseball.

[RELATED: How Forst thinks state of free-agent market will affect A's]

The Cardinals took Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, making him the first player in history to be drafted in the first round of both the MLB and the NFL drafts.

Murray has had a strong rookie campaign for Arizona, throwing for 3,060 yards and 16 touchdowns, with 448 yards and four more TDs on the ground.

So with those solid numbers, here’s the question we all want to know: How is Beane’s fantasy team doing this season?

“First time not making the playoffs,” Beane said with a laugh.

Boston's JD Martinez understands why Mike Fiers spoke up about Astros

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USATSI

Boston's JD Martinez understands why Mike Fiers spoke up about Astros

The latest "MLB cheating scandal" cast a murky cloud over America's Pastime when it was brought forth allegations that the Houston Astros used technology to illegally steal signs during the team's 2017 championship season.

The team allegedly would use centerfield video cameras to steal signs from opponents and relay an audio signal (banging on the cans) to batters to give them a heads up which pitch would be coming.

Current A's pitcher Mike Fiers, who spent three seasons as a member of the Astros, was the first to go on record and talk about the cheating ways. Since then, he's received quite a bit of backlash from fans ... and even sports analysts.

But he has a lot of support when you sift through the awful Twitter mentions (and fake niece accounts -- seriously, what?!) in his friend and former college teammate J.D. Martinez.

“Sucks for him. I’ve talked to him about it,” Martinez said in an interview with MassLive.com. “I understand his side of it. I understand his side of it, being in that division and going against those guys. It’s one of those things where it’s an uncomfortable position for him. I understand why he did what he did.”

The Boston Red Sox designated hitter was also asked if it were possible Fiers would fall victim to any type of retaliation on the field during this upcoming season -- or any season after that.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Martinez said. “I wish him the best with everything. I talked about it with him. He obviously felt like he needed to and I understand it.”

We don't know what will materialize once actual baseball games are played, but it appears there is more heat on Major League Baseball than Fiers.

ESPN baseball analyst and Mets advisor Jessica Mendoza recently gave her thoughts publicly on what Fiers had done saying it "didn't sit well" with her on the fact that he decided to "go public."

What she said didn't sit well with many. Myself included.

This isn't an article to discuss what she said or the fact she holds both of these titles is a conflict of interest. This article will, however, expound she was false in her statements.

It's important to showcase that Fiers has the support from not only his friends/fellow baseball players but those who spend money and time dedicated to the sport.

Since Fiers bravely went public in that interview with The Athletic, baseball saw a few historic penalties.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Lunhow were both fired. The team forfeited its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and '21 MLB drafts and were fined $5 million. This is the highest allowable fine under the Major League Constitution. 

Boston Red Sox manager and Alex Cora "mutually parted ways" after the scandal. Cora served as the Astros' bench coach the year the team won the World Series.

As Martinez says, we don't know what will happen in the upcoming months as more light is shed on these situations, but many are saying Fiers should be commended for what he did.

[RELATED: A's projected to win under 90 games in 2020]

He could have been anonymous. He could have subtweeted it in a cryptic way. He could have waited years from now to write a novel about it.

He didn't.

Fiers stamped his name on it, and that brought more individuals forward to do the same. That took courage. 

Cardinals' Kyler Murray claims he could play two sports at same time

Cardinals' Kyler Murray claims he could play two sports at same time

The game Kyler Murray played of "What will he choose?" ultimately ended with the dual-sport player deciding to be an NFL quarterback.

Despite the choice, Murray, the A's first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2018 MLB Draft, believes if he were given a one-calendar year, he would be able to play both sports.

"Athletically, I think yeah, I could do it," Murray told The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman

Murray added it's something he's done his entire life and "would love to add that to my resume."

The guy is a heck of an athlete, that's for sure. He ended up being the No. 1 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft and became the first player ever drafted in the first round in both the NFL and MLB.

Not bad. 

He started 50 of his 51 games in a baseball uniform as an Oklahoma Sooner, hitting a .296 average with 10 home runs and 47 RBI. 

As a member of the Sooner football team, he threw for 4,361 yards and rushed for 1,001 scoring a combined 54 touchdowns. That was tied for the ninth-most in NCAA Division 1 history and he sealed his college campaign with a Heisman Trophy.

It was a difficult pill to swallow for A's fans that looked forward to seeing him in action. Both from a playing and marketing perspective.

When he made the decision to be an NFL player, he had to return a chunk of his signing bonus money ($4.66 million total) to the A's and would forfeit the remaining $3.16 million due that March. 

The A's retained Murray's rights, but the team did not get a compensatory draft pick.

[RELATED: A's prospect Reed will be perfect for Green and Gold]

General manager David Forst told reporters last year during spring training the A's knew there was a possibility he would choose football.

"We'll focus on what we need to do if he comes back to baseball at some point, and he'll come back with the A's," Forst said.