Yasmani Grandal signs one-year deal with Brewers
Any hope that the Red Sox would jump in on the Yasmani Grandal market if it fell far enough to improve their catching situation went out the window on Wednesday. The former Dodgers catcher did see his market drop quite a bit due to both his implosion defensively in the postseason as well as the draft pick compensation attached to his free agency. Ultimately, he did make a bit more than the qualifying offer he rejected at the start of the offseason, but not by much. On Wednesday night, the backstop agreed to a one-year, $18.25 million deal with the Brewers. For Milwaukee, this is a good move for a team that just missed a World Series berth a year ago and needed a catching upgrade. They not only improve the lineup here, but Grandal is one of the best pitch framers in the game so the pitching should get some sort of boost as well.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, were never publicly interested in Grandal. They obviously have three catchers on the roster right now, but none of them are close to Grandal in on-field value. The biggest issue would have been salary for the Red Sox if they do indeed want to stay under the highest luxury threshold this year. That still seems far-fetched to me at this point, though, and if they are going to go over they might as well blow by the mark with one-year deals like this. It seemed like a good chance to flex their financial muscles, but they opted to stick with their current trio.
Kyler Murray may be leading towards the NFL
A report came out late Wednesday night indicating Heisman Trophy winner — and Athletics first-round pick — Kyler Murray is leaning towards declaring for the NFL draft. This has been one of the biggest stories hanging over baseball for the last few months, and it’s only gained steam as Murray continued to have an eye-opening season playing quarterback at Oklahoma. Oakland drafted the QB/outfielder with the ninth overall pick and gave him a $4.55 million signing bonus, but there have been rumblings of him possibly forgoing that to enter the NFL draft instead. Now, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are expecting Murray to declare for the NFL draft. Further down the report, one source says he’s leaning towards playing football over baseball. As a fan, the best-case scenario would be for him to play both, but that’s unlikely-to-impossible for an NFL quarterback.
Murray passing on baseball and nearly $5 million to play in the NFL would be a high-profile blow for baseball. People have been keeping an eye on this and have been ready to declare the NFL as dying if Murray ultimately stuck with baseball. Obviously, any such declaration in either scenario is hyperbolic, but that’s the way of the world. There are two ways to look at Murray’s decision: Health and financial. On the health side, baseball is the obvious choice. You don’t have athletic 300 pound men charging at you and tackling you at full speed in baseball. Financially, things are different, but not to the extent some baseball people would have you believe. Yes, baseball has guaranteed contracts while football does not. And yes, Murray did just get that big signing bonus from Oakland (that he’d have to return if he does pick football over baseball). All that said, he’d then play for basically nothing for at least two years in the minors, then play for the league minimum for three years before being underpaid in arbitration, and that’s just if everything goes well. As an NFL quarterback, you get a big payday early (assuming you’re an early-round pick), and your shelf life in the league is almost unbelievable if you have pedigree. I mean, Mark Sanchez started games this year. Basically, if anything besides health is the deciding factor here, I think you have to choose football.