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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: The Kyler Murray Dilemma

Plus: One less challenger for Realmuto, and another 2-way player coming to St Pete?

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl - Alabama v Oklahoma Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The talk of the baseball world this weekend was the two-sport, hyper athletic Kyler Murray. Would he give up his guaranteed signing bonus from the Oakland A’s and choose football, entering the NFL Draft? What could the A’s offer to sway him from giving up football for baseball?

There were rumors, news stories, and lots of opinions abounding. Mostly what I was seeing: people had strong opinions about what Kyler should obviously do, based on which sport was their favorite. Selfishly, I would like to see Kyler in the MLB as I both want to see more young, super athletic talent in baseball. But the idea that this is an obvious choice seems laughable to me.

Yes, football is an extremely dangerous sport, and horrific injury and lifelong consequences from playing in the NFL is hard to ignore (unless you are the NFL, zing!). The health risks are far safer in baseball. But this is where the problem of wildly underpaying minor league ball players comes in.

Kyler Murray will have a nice signing bonus to start out, but to achieve the big money that he could get in the NFL as even a mediocre QB, it would take upwards of a decade of success. Years in the minor leagues making basically nothing beyond his initial 9th overall pick signing bonus. If he is able to reach the majors, then it will take at least 3 years before he can start making significant money in Arbitration. Even if he hits the ground running, look at what Tommy Pham is going to get this year in his first crack at Arb after two really strong campaigns ($4.1M if he wins his case).

It’s understandable that the potential for major money and immediate impact in the NFL is enough to sway him to choose football over baseball. That’s his choice, and I hope whatever he decides he is able to achieve great things.

This dilemma fascinates me, as it is a high profile example of a problem that’s not going away for the MLB: young talent choose a different path. Mostly, a path towards a sport that actually pay their players up front.

Rays Links

Rays have interest in free agent Matt Davidson as a two-way player - Eduardo A. Encina, Tampa Bay Times: Rumors over the weekend broke that the Rays might be interested in Matt Davidson, formerly of the White Sox. Davidson is coming off a strong hitting campaign against LHP, and showed some decent velocity and break while as a “position player pitching”.

Jon Heyman reported: Rays offer $3.5M vs Pham’s offer $4.1M

Canyonside Cages on Twitter shared a video of potential Rays target, Matt Davidson, discussing some of the work Davidson has put in this offseason towards refining his swing.

Rumor: Padres are out on J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes: Another team seems out, keeping the possibility of a Rays-Realmuto trade alive.

Around the League

Sources: A’s get clearance to sweeten Kyler Murray’s deal - Jeff Passan, ESPN: Will the A’s offer Kyler Murray a major league deal to increase the financial offer and sway Murray to baseball?

No specific money offer was discussed in their meeting today, according to Passan.

These are the mystery teams for Manny, Bryce - Richard Justice, MLB.com: Justice does not think the Rays are the mystery team for either Bryce and Manny. That’s just HOW mysterious the Rays are!

Manny Machado has offer from White Sox for 8-year contract - Jeff Passan, ESPN

Statheads, Rejoice: Hall of Fame Voting Is Starting to Make Sense - Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer: As Lindbergh explores, a number of factors are at play towards the move to sanity and reason in Hall of Fame voting.