Less than three years ago, the Astros signed first base prospect Jon Singleton to a five-year contract worth a guaranteed $10 million before he ever played an MLB game. The deal was so unprecedented that the MLBPA was upset. Singleton was heavily criticized by his peers.
On Saturday, the Astros reportedly began the process of removing Singleton from the 40-man roster. He was placed on outright waivers.
Hearing the Astros placed Jon Singleton on outright waivers, the first step to removal from the 40-man roster.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) November 19, 2016
In the two-and-a-half years since signing the contract, the 25-year-old Singleton has struggled in several big-league opportunities and been unable to seize an MLB job. He hit .202/.337/.390 with 20 home runs and a 24.8 percent strikeout rate in Triple-A in 2016 and did not receive a September call-up.
Needless to say, the contract has not worked as the Astros have hoped. Their plan was to lock Singleton in long-term at well below the market rate -- the deal includes three club options worth another $20.5 million -- before he established himself as a power-hitting middle-of-the-order force. That hasn't happened.
Meanwhile, Singleton's decision to take the unprecedented contract offer means he has $5.5 million in his pocket already with at least another $4.5 million coming to him over the next two years. He's got some financial security. That's why every player who signs a contract early in their career does it. For security.
Any team that claims Singleton on outright waivers gets him and the remainder of his contract. That won't happen. He'll clear waivers, and because this is his first career outright assignment, he won't be able to elect free agency. Singleton will remain with the 'Stros as a non-40-man roster player.
The Astros took a risk guaranteeing Singleton $10 million without ever seeing whether he could handle big-league pitching, and it hasn't paid off. They rolled the dice and it backfired. Singleton jumped at the security and I'm certain he's glad he did now.