Athletics

Kyler Murray wins 2018 Heisman Trophy; could he pick NFL over A's?

Kyler Murray wins 2018 Heisman Trophy; could he pick NFL over A's?

Add the Heisman Trophy to Kyler Murray’s growing list of accolades. Likely add increased speculation about his future, too.

Murray, an Oakland A’s prospect who also plays quarterback for Oklahoma, was voted the recipient of the Heisman, which is given to college football’s most outstanding player.

Murray beat out two other quarterbacks -- Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins -- for the award, which he received Saturday in New York. Being so honored will do nothing to quiet talk that he could change his mind and pick football over baseball.

This past summer, Murray signed a $4.66 million contract with the A’s, who drafted him No. 9 overall as an outfielder, and he has said he’ll join them for spring training next year. Scott Boras, Murray’s agent, said Thursday that his client remains committed to playing baseball.

“Kyler has every intention of fulfilling his agreement with the A’s, and he’s grateful he has had the chance to pursue his college goals,” Boras told The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. “He will be in spring training with the A’s.”

Murray himself hasn’t been as clear, though. He told ESPN last week that pursuing a football career is “something me and my family will talk about at the end of the season and weigh out the options of what the NFL thinks of me.” He also said Friday that he’d like to play both football and baseball, but he wasn’t sure if doing that would be possible.

Underclassmen have until Jan. 14 to declare their intention to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. So, if Murray wants to pursue a football career, he’ll have to decide by that date. He also could decide to return to Oklahoma for his senior season, although that seems unlikely, given all the atention he has received as a potential first-round NFL draft pick.

[RELATED: Murray recreates iconic Bo Jackson photo in Heisman campaign]

Murray is listed at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, but that slight size is countered by his unique play-making ability. In his first season as Oklahoma’s starting QB, Murray has thrown for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns, and run for 892 yards and 11 more scores in 13 games.

Murray will lead the Sooners (12-1) against top-ranked Alabama (13-0) in the Dec. 29 Orange Bowl, with a berth in the Jan. 7 College Football Playoff national championship game on the line.

That game will be played at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. A’s fans hope it won’t be the last time they see Murray play in the Bay.

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

Three A's prospects make MLB Pipeline's latest top 100 for 2020 season

The A's impressive trio of talented prospects continued to be recognized on Saturday. Pitchers Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, as well as catcher Sean Murphy, were listed on MLB Pipeline's new list of their top 100 prospects for the 2020 season. 

Luzardo leads the way at No. 12 with Murphy ranked 33 and Puk at No. 60. This is much different than how Baseball America ranked the three

Luzardo, 22, is ranked three spots lower by MLB Pipeline than Baseball America, which placed the left-handed pitcher as the ninth-best prospect in baseball. Murphy and Puk are seen much differently by the two outlets as well. 

Baseball America has Puk as high as No. 21, coming in as Oakland's second-best prospect. His injury history as someone who underwent Tommy John surgery could be a reason MLB Pipeline ranks him lower. 

Murphy, on the other hand, is ranked eight spots higher on MLB Pipeline's top 100 than he is on Baseball America's. He's considered the best defensive prospect at catcher and could be a Gold Glove candidate as soon as this upcoming season. 

[RELATED: A's fans confident in team, Fiers heading into 2020 season]

All three prospects played a part in the A's reaching the AL Wild-Card Game last season. In 2020, however, they'll look to push Oakland to an AL West title and more. 

The future is here for the A's, and it starts with Luzardo, Murphy and Puk.

A's fans confident in team, Mike Fiers heading into 2020 MLB season

A's fans confident in team, Mike Fiers heading into 2020 MLB season

OAKLAND -- It didn’t take long for the Q&A sessions at the A’s annual Fan Fest on Saturday to be swarmed with questions about “cheating” and “the Astros situation.” 

Yet a sense of excitement was in the air among the 32,000 green and gold faithful at Jack London Square. Typically, I would say “hope,” but A’s manager Bob Melvin said it was a season he looks forward to and there isn’t much of a message he wanted to send to his team.

They're ready.

And so are the fans. 

A young fan clutched her A’s teddy bear tightly to herself after A’s shortstop Marcus Semien took a sharpie to it. It was officially a collector’s item. 

She immediately gleamed with pride and appeared to barely catch her breath.

The long line was worth the wait.

When the topic of Mike Fiers came up, fans expressed support for the veteran pitcher, who was the main source in MLB's investigation into the Astros.

"We're behind Mike 150 percent," Fleetwood, long-time A's fan, told NBC Sports California. "We told him that, as they were marching in, 'We're behind you.'" 

"Mike is the hero, we love him for it," he added.

The combination of a strong roster on paper and support for Fiers was the theme of the day. 

"We just want to see good baseball, we want to see a competitive team -- want to see players signed, we want to be spoiled with these players just as the other teams are," Fleetwood said.

And Fleetwood's future outlook for the team? It was a deadpan look into the camera during an additional interview saying that the A's would indeed be the World Series champions next season.

Fans are looking forward to the young pitching arms and there is always a mention of “that Matt Chapman guy.” 

Watching fans list the strong things the team possesses heading into the season left them in better spirits than previous seasons. 

"The over is 89 and a half," Michael Gilson of Lafayette, Calif. said. "I would bet the over -- there's no reason for them to be less than where they were last year."

[RELATED: Sportsbook predicts 89.5 wins for A's in 2020]

Time and time again, Las Vegas has come up short in what this team can do.

"I think they've got the luxury of plenty this year," Gilson said.

Looking around, it appeared a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of Oakland fans. They have confidence in the team that looks strong on paper. The confidence that you'll be able to hear in drum and cheer form.