Some items out of Oakland….
- The A’s aren’t expected to revisit extension negotiations with Khris Davis until later in the offseason, though the two sides will surely talk prior to the January 11 deadline for exchanging arbitration figures. Davis is projected to earn $18.1MM in 2019, his final year before free agency, though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out that Oakland stands a decent chance of retaining Davis for 2020 via the qualifying offer. A longer-term deal still could be attractive for the Athletics, however, as a way of saving themselves some money in overall average annual value. A source tells Slusser that the length of an extension “is far more important to Davis than the annual value of the contract,” as Davis surely would like some long-term security given how the free agent market has somewhat harshly treated bat-first players over the last two years.
- Heisman Trophy winner and A’s draft pick Kyler Murray pointed towards the Athletics as his future destination, telling reporters (including KFOR.com’s Dylan Buckingham) Wednesday that, “As of right now, I’m going to play baseball. That’s about it.” Murray had given some recent indications that he could reconsider an NFL career in the wake of his star performance as Oklahoma’s quarterback this season, though yesterday’s statement would seem to indicate that he is ultimately preparing to join the Athletics’ farm system once his collegiate career is over. Scott Boras, Murray’s agent, also more or less said as much when speaking to MLB.com’s Jane Lee and other media members Wednesday at the Winter Meetings. “When you win the Heisman Trophy, you are going to have a lot of information come to you and be looked at,” Boras said. “All I know is Kyler has a tremendous opportunity to be a great baseball player. He knows that, and I think that opportunity is already in place. He has every intention to be in Spring Training and advance that interest.” Murray was the ninth overall pick of the 2018 draft, and his A’s contract (which included a $4.66MM bonus) allowed him to play football for Oklahoma this season.
- In a preview of today’s Rule 5 Draft, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America writes that A’s shortstop prospect Richie Martin is rumored as the Orioles’ choice as the draft’s first overall pick. Oakland picked Martin 20th overall in the 2015 amateur draft, and after dealing with knee problems during his first three pro seasons, Martin broke out to hit .300/.368/.439 over 509 plate appearances for Double-A Midland in 2018. The Athletics couldn’t find room for him on the 40-man roster, however, and now the team stands a good chance of losing Martin in the Rule 5 Draft, be it the Orioles or another interested club. Any team that takes Murray must keep him on their Major League roster for the entire 2019 season, or else offer him back to the A’s for $50K. Cooper’s piece is well worth a full read for a look at some of the intriguing young players who could be Rule 5 picks today at 11am CT.