In the end, they failed at that goal, but it's easy to understand why.
"He's really fun to watch on a football field, and he's going to be fun to watch on a baseball field". If he's selected anywhere in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, he can expect to earn more than twice what he'd have earned with the Athletics' signing bonus; last year's No. 32 overall pick, Lamar Jackson, signed for almost $9.5MM and will earn the entirety of that sum.
Kyler Murray will follow his heart, choosing to play pro football rather than baseball. They reportedly met with Murray in an effort to ensure he chose baseball, but the 21-year-old announced last week he would attend this month's NFL Scouting Combine.
Murray was given a $4.66m (£3.62m) signing-on bonus by the A's. That, too, is according to the league's design-one that artificially suppresses salaries for young players through the arbitration system and keeps them from unfettered free agency for half a decade (where the owners have now also made a decision to keep their checkbooks closed, too). With as many draft picks as the Patriots have this year no player is off limits, so don't be surprised to see members of the organization checking out Murray over the next few weeks.
There's officially a big-time quarterback available for National Football League teams to consider. You can't blame the league for that, but it does represent how precarious baseball's position on the media map is, as MLB fights the NFL and National Basketball Association for the eyeballs and dollars of fans.
Baker Mayfield, who was awarded the same hardware in 2017, was taken with the No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft. "The situation is fluid right now and based on a historic college football season that the young man had". But just as Murray had to weigh the NFL versus MLB, so too will thousands upon thousands of kids in youth leagues or high school or college.
The reigning Heisman Trophy victor posted a statement on his Twitter account Monday, four days before he was scheduled to report to spring training with the Oakland Athletics. Murray picking football over baseball is no surprise at all; for MLB, that may be the worst part of it all.