Athletics

A's prospect Kyler Murray responds to Oklahoma benching him with career day

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USATSI

A's prospect Kyler Murray responds to Oklahoma benching him with career day

The Oklahoma Sooners opened play against the Baylor Bears without quarterback Kyler Murray on Saturday. 

The A's prospect sat out the Sooners' first drive against Baylor, as Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley benched the 21-year-old for disciplinary reasons. Murray reportedly missed practice Friday, according to ESPN's broadcast, and backup Austin Kendall started in Murray's place.

Murray re-joined the offensive huddle on Oklahoma's second possession, and responded with arguably the best day of his career. 

He completed 17 of 21 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns, setting career-highs in passing yardage and touchdowns. He added another 45 yards and a touchdown on the ground, as No. 6 Oklahoma trounced Baylor, 66-33. In all, Murray finished the day with more total touchdowns (seven) than incompletions (four). 

Since 2000, only Murray, 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, and Landry Jones -- the Big 12's all-time leader in passing yards -- have thrown six (or more) touchdowns in a single game for the Sooners. In fact, through five games, Murray is only 175 passing yards shy of Mayfield's total over that time from last season, and Murray has scored five more touchdowns (21) than the No. 1 pick in April's NFL Draft.

Plus, Murray's Sooners are undefeated through five games, while Mayfield's were 4-1 at this point last year. If Murray and Oklahoma can stay ahead of that pace, he may follow in Mayfield's trophy-winning footsteps. 

A's Khris Davis wins Edgar Martinez Award because he was actually a DH

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USATSI

A's Khris Davis wins Edgar Martinez Award because he was actually a DH

It turns out playing the position is important for winning a positional award.

A's slugger Khris Davis won the Edgar Martinez Outstanding DH Award Tuesday as the AL's best designated hitter.

[RELATED: A's have had 'preliminary talks' on Khris Davis contract extension]

Davis beat out Boston Red Sox DH/outfielder J.D. Martinez for the honors. Earlier this month, though, Martinez edged Davis in winning the AL Silver Slugger as a DH and as an outfielder. 

Martinez had a superior statistical season to Davis overall, save for home runs. But Davis beat Martinez where it mattered. 

He was a better designated hitter. 

[RELATED: Mr. Consistent: A's DH Khris Davis makes crazy MLB history]

Before your Inner Mike Francesa pipes up and calls Davis a compiler, remember this is an award for designated hitters. Martinez had a historic 2018, and surely would have won the award had he played the position more.

But he didn't, and Davis took home some hardware after a career year of his own. 

A's free agent signing anniversary: Starting pitcher Rich Hill

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AP

A's free agent signing anniversary: Starting pitcher Rich Hill

Three years ago today, the A's signed free agent left-hander Rich Hill to a one-year, $6 million deal.

Hill was 35 at the time and hadn't pitched more than 100 innings since 2007, due in large part to injuries. But the veteran pitched brilliantly for the A's in 2016, going 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 14 starts.

The A's fell out of contention that year and traded Hill to the Dodgers, along with outfielder Josh Reddick, in exchange for Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes. Hill finished the 2016 season with a 12-5 record and 2.12 ERA.

Not even Billy Beane could have expected the Hill signing to work out as well as it did. The veteran southpaw found a fountain of youth, finally managing to stay healthy for an entire season. Hill has continued his success in Los Angeles the last two seasons, and even now at the age of 38 is a valuable starter in the Dodgers' rotation.

[RELATED: Rich Hill feel-good story]

Even if the Hill signing hadn't worked out for the A's, it was a low-risk, high-reward move. For just one year and $6 million, it was worth taking a chance, knowing they could always move him at the trade deadline, which they ended up doing anyway.

The A's will again look to add starting pitching this offseason and hope to find another under-the-radar starter like Hill. A one-year contract will be preferred, but even a two-year deal could make sense if the price is right.

Another takeaway from the Hill signing is that sometimes age is just a number. Look at the success Edwin Jackson had in Oakland as a 35-year-old. Since the A's already have a surplus of young pitching talent nearing the Major League level, they really just need a couple of veterans to bring stability to the rotation for the next season or two.

We'll see if Beane and David Forst can work their magic again.