Athletics

Kyler Murray NFL draft decision: Comparing money in baseball, football

Kyler Murray NFL draft decision: Comparing money in baseball, football

Baseball money or football money? That is the question.

Compensation surely is another factor Kyler Murray must be wrestling with as he decides whether to play baseball or football professionally.

It might seem trivial -- both will pay him millions! -- but the Heisman Trophy winner assuredly is weighing the compensation structure of both the MLB and the NFL as he decides his future.

Although the two-sport star has declared for the NFL draft, he already has put pen to paper on a $4.66 million signing bonus with the Oakland A’s. Murray reportedly would have to give back most of the money the A's gave him if he were to play professionally in the NFL instead. 

Some have argued that the guaranteed money he’s already agreed to with Oakland would be enough to convince him to stick with baseball and report to MLB spring training in February as the A’s hope.

However, the Oklahoma QB wouldn’t necessarily lose guaranteed money if he chooses football.

In fact, if Murray believes he’ll be a first-round pick in April’s NFL draft -- and there’s reason to believe he could go as high as No. 1 overall -- Murray would earn more money from his NFL signing bonus than the $4.66 million he’s assured with the A’s.

Per Spotrac, first-round picks in the 2018 NFL draft received signing bonuses ranging from $4.97 million (No. 32 pick Lamar Jackson) to $21.85 million (No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield).

So even if Murray was the last pick in the first round, he actually would bank more guaranteed money than he currently has with the A’s.

When considering his future earning potential, that’s when it gets tricky. If Murray turns into a star quarterback, or even a serviceable one, he’ll be heavily compensated for the rest of his career (see: Bay Area quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr, who both signed contracts worth more than $70 million in guaranteed money, per Spotrac).

But since NFL contracts aren’t fully guaranteed, Murray could risk leaving lots of cash on the table if he were to be seriously injured or if he didn’t perform up to expectations.

Conversely, if Murray decides to stick with baseball, he keeps the $4.66 million up front … but then has to wait until he makes the major leagues to make more significant money. 

Once Murray makes the majors, he then would have to wait another six-plus years to hit free agency before a monster eight- or nine-figure contract could be waiting for him.

[RELATED: Why it's not the end of the world for the A's if Murray picks football]

So while Murray’s signing bonuses in both sports could be similar, the risk/reward for his future earning potential surely will factor into his decision.

Does Murray see the green dollar signs of guaranteed contracts in baseball, knowing he’d have to wait years to see most of the cash as he first pays his dues as a minor leaguer? 

Or does he choose the instant fame of being an NFL quarterback, knowing he’ll be more susceptible to injury and the risks that come with non-guaranteed money?

That must be one hefty pro/con list ...

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

treinenusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

diekmanusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

[RELATED: A's 3B coach Williams will manage in Korea next season]

Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.