The A's fully knew the risks involved when they chose Kyler Murray ninth overall in the 2018 MLB Draft.
Billy Beane and Co. decided Murray's unique talent made him worth a roll of the dice. Unfortunately, it looks like it came up snake eyes.
The A's expect Murray to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported he is leaning toward playing professional football over baseball. A team source told NBC Sports California that if Murray attends the NFL Scouting Combine in late February, rather than spring training, he is "as good as gone."
At first glance, this feels like a disaster for the A's. While they would recoup the nearly $5 million signing bonus they gave Murray, they would not receive a compensatory draft pick, meaning they wasted the selection.
However, the MLB draft is a bit different than its counterparts in the NFL and NBA. When a football or basketball team makes a poor first-round pick, it can set the franchise back years. In baseball, the draft is more of a crap shoot, where late-round selections often have as much success as first-rounders.
Just look at the sheer number of players selected in the MLB draft compared to the other sports. The 2018 baseball draft featured a staggering 40 rounds and more than 1,200 picks. Basketball's draft lasts just two rounds. Football's goes seven.
Even if Murray decided to play baseball, there is no guarantee he would ever reach the big leagues. There have been countless first-round picks who haven't panned out the way teams had hoped.
Between 2000 and 2015, the A's owned at least one first-round selection in 14 of the 16 drafts. Here is a breakdown of their first selection each year:
2015: Richie Martin - 20th overall
2014: Matt Chapman - 25th overall
2013: Billy McKinney - 24th overall
2012: Addison Russell - 11th overall
2011: Sonny Gray - 18th overall
2010: Michael Choice - 10th overall
2009: Grant Green - 13th overall
2008: Jemile Weeks - 12th overall
2007: James Simmons - 26th overall
2006: No pick
2005: Cliff Pennington - 21st overall
2004: Landon Powell - 24th overall
2003: Brad Sullivan - 23rd overall
2002: Nick Swisher - 16th overall
2001: Bobby Crosby - 21st overall
2000: No pick
Of that group, less than half truly made an impact at the major league level. For every Matt Chapman or Nick Swisher, there is a Brad Sullivan or Michael Choice. Heck, the A's let Richie Martin go for nothing in last month's Rule 5 Draft.
It's not just the A's that have had their share of draft misses. Here's a breakdown of No. 9 overall picks (where Kyler Murray was selected) between 2000 and 2015:
2015: Ian Happ - Cubs
2014: Jeff Hoffman - Blue Jays
2013: Austin Meadows - Pirates
2012: Andrew Heaney - Marlins
2011: Javier Baez - Cubs
2010: Karsten Whitson - Padres
2009: Jacob Turner - Tigers
2008: Aaron Crow - Nationals
2007: Jarrod Parker - Diamondbacks
2006: Billy Rowell - Orioles
2005: Mike Pelfrey - Mets
2004: Chris Nelson - Rockies
2003: John Danks - Rangers
2002: Jeff Francis - Rockies
2001: Colt Griffin - Royals
2000: Mark Phillips - Padres
Be honest, how many of those names have you even heard of? Obviously, Javy Baez turned into a star for the Cubs, but the majority of these picks didn't pan out.
Is the Murray situation ideal? Of course not. A's fans have a right to be upset any time a first-round pick doesn't work out. But just remember, Murray wouldn't be the first draft bust, and he certainly wouldn't be the last.