Athletics

A's prospect Kyler Murray will enter 2019 NFL Draft after Heisman season

A's prospect Kyler Murray will enter 2019 NFL Draft after Heisman season

The answer to "will he or won't he?" He will. 

Less than a year after the A's picked him in the top 10 of the MLB draft, two-sport star Kyler Murray announced ahead of Monday's deadline that he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Murray submitted his paperwork to declare for the draft back on Friday, and that he has already notified the A's of his decision.

Oakland drafted the 21-year-old ninth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft last June, and signed off on him returning to the University of Oklahoma to play football in the fall. Murray, who backed up Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield during the 2017 season, was named the Sooners' starting quarterback in September.

Murray quickly established himself as one of the best players in college football. He threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns, and ran for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 54 total touchdowns were tied for the ninth-most by a player in a single season in college football history, and Murray won the Heisman Trophy after his historic campaign. 

Agent Scott Boras insisted last month that Murray would report to spring training, but rumors persisted that Murray would opt to play football. Recent mock drafts projected Murray could be selected in the first round by an NFL team, but the A's were reportedly willing to put Murray on their 40-man roster in order to convince him to play baseball. Marketing executives from MLB were reportedly involved in the meetings, too, in order to show Murray what off-field opportunities would arise if he chose the diamond over the gridiron. 

Should Murray ultimately play in the NFL, he will have to pay back the A's the $4.66 million signing bonus he received in June. If he is a first-round pick in April, Murray would receive more guaranteed money from the NFL than he did with the A's, based on signing bonuses 2018's NFL first-rounders received.

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

A’s utility man Chad Pinder is home in Charlotte, North Carolina getting plenty of things done. Watching Netflix, painting nursery furniture, and getting in decent workouts in his garage.

Productive, but not reassuring.

“This is kind of unprecedented in our lifetime, basically to have the nation on hold right now,” Pinder told NBC  Sports Bay Area this week. “It is a very scary time, especially in some the areas that are affected bad right now.”

It was only a few weeks ago Pinder and his Oakland teammates were in Mesa, Arizona getting ready for a highly anticipated 2020 MLB season. 

They, like most of the country, didn’t fully interpret the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at first.

“I don’t know if we initially realized what was going on,” Pinder said. “Thought maybe this would be a two-week break, month maximum. The more information you get, the more you see going around, you realize this is a long-term thing.”

Pinder, a highly-regarded clubhouse leader, now keeps in touch with teammates mostly through text messages.

“We have a group thread, everybody’s talking,” Pinder said.

Their main conversations are about MLB developments, and to keep each other in the loop of when baseball could resume. Players don’t have any more assurances or insights than the average fan does these days. But there are some certainties. 

“Even when we resume stuff, there will be residual effects of what’s been going on,” Pinder said.

[RELATED: Stewart better after coronavirus scare]

That aforementioned nursery project is indeed preparation for Chad and his wife Taylor’s first child, due in the late summer months. He is certainly seeing different perspectives of events right now, as they relate to the future.

“The way we handle this, the way we come out of this,” Pinder said. “We’ll look back on the rest of our lives and remember this time.”

Why Matt Olson's walk-off in A's 2019 win vs. Brewers was so impressive

Why Matt Olson's walk-off in A's 2019 win vs. Brewers was so impressive

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Matt Olson's walk-off homer vs. Brewers tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

Milwaukee Brewers All-Star closer Josh Hader has been almost unhittable when facing left-handed batters during his three-year MLB career.

But A's first baseman Matt Olson didn't care about the numbers on July 30, 2019.

With the A's and Brewers tied in the bottom of the 10th inning, Olson hit a moonshot solo home run on the first pitch he saw from Hader to send the Oakland Coliseum into a frenzy.

A's fans will get a chance to relive Olson's heroics from the 3-2 win Friday night as NBC Sports California re-airs the game at 8 p.m.

In a Twitter fan poll, Olson's walk-off beat out Marcus Semien's walk-off from March 29, 2018.

Left-handed hitters are hitting just .120 off Hader in 209 at-bats. He has allowed just 25 hits and six homers to lefties, so Olson beat the odds in order to send the A's home winners on that night.

[RELATED: Stewart addresses beating coronavirus]

Olson would finish the 2019 season with a career-high 36 homers, with 11 coming off left-handed pitchers.

He will have to wait an undetermined amount of time before he can hit his next walk-off as the MLB season has been delayed due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.