OAKLAND, Calif -- The Oakland Athletics welcomed first-round pick Kyler Murray into their organization Friday, agreeing to terms that will allow him to play quarterback for the University of Oklahoma for only one season.
Murray, taken with the ninth overall pick in the MLB's amateur draft last week, came to town for an introductory media conference with A's executive vice president Billy Beane and his agent Scott Boras. The details of the deal weren't immediately released but the slot value for the ninth pick in the draft is $4.7 million.
"This is one of the most dynamic athletes we've signed since we've got here," Beane said.
Murray's highly anticipated arrival signaled the start of his gradual -- but ultimately, final -- transition from the gridiron to the diamond. A picture of Murray in the green A's home uniform beamed from the two large outfield scoreboards at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, bearing the message "Welcome to Oakland."
"It's surreal," Murray said. "Obviously, today has been a great day."
He went through a largely ceremonial round of batting practice about two hours before first pitch against the Los Angeles Angels. Boras, observing from near the home dugout, smiled wide after Murray sent one of the balls over the center-field fence.
"Now that's my kind of quarterback," Boras said.
At Oklahoma, Murray backed up Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield last season. In limited action, he completed 18 of 21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns and ran 14 times for 142 yards. In the spring, Murray competed with redshirt freshman Austin Kendall to replace Mayfield but Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said it was "neck-and-neck" between them and hasn't yet decided on a starter.
Murray's undeniable talent in baseball complicated things. He hit .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and stole 10 bases while manning center field for the first time in his baseball career.
That, plus conversations with his family and Boras, convinced Beane and the A's to draft Murray so highly despite the highly unusual arrangement of allowing him to play another year of football.
"I think it really energized the room," Beane said, recalling the reaction from members of the front office when he ultimately made the call to draft Murray. "In January, we're going to be so excited this kid is playing for the Oakland A's."
Murray said it has been no trouble going back and forth between the sports: "I've been doing it my whole life." In fact, he has done it better than few others who preceded him. He was the first athlete to play in both the Under Armour All-America football and baseball national high school all-star games.
But he fared less well when confronted with the media conference equivalent of a softball: If the A's hadn't allowed him to play football, would he have turned down a chance to go pro in baseball?
He searched for an answer."I think they understand," he said and then mumbled until Beane cut in.
"I'll make it easy," Beane said. "It was a deal-breaker if he didn't go back."
Murray's family, sitting in the back of the room, applauded.