The decision is a blow to MLB’s Oakland Athletics, who selected Murray ninth overall as an outfielder in the 2018 draft and gave him a $4.66-million signing bonus before allowing him to play one more college football season at Oklahoma.
Now, based on his decision to pursue professional football, Murray must return $1.29 million of the $1.5-million bonus he already received and forfeit the remaining $3.16 million that would be due March 1, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Additionally, the A’s will reportedly put Murray on the restricted list and retain his rights but won’t receive a compensatory draft pick.
While there was always a risk that Murray would choose football, A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said following the draft that the outfielder was simply too talented to pass up.
“Probably about 36 hours before the draft, I was talking to (A’s GM) David (Forst),” Beane said in June, according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee. “And I said, ‘We should take Kyler Murray; that’s who everyone wants to take.’
“Everyone kind of looked at me as if (asking), ‘Is that OK?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do it. If it’s the best player, we’re going to take him.’ I think it really energized everyone. No one really wanted to mention the whole football thing and I said, ‘Hey, listen guys. In January, we’re going to be really excited that this kid is playing for the Oakland A’s. We’re going to be hitting ourselves in January if we haven’t taken this kid.'”
Murray is projected to be an early-round selection in the NFL draft and is expected to attend the scouting combine at the end of February.
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