SBD/June 4, 2014/Franchises

Jon Singleton Makes MLB Debut For Astros After Signing Landmark Contract Extension

Singleton could see free agency pushed back to after the '21 season with contract options
Astros 1B Jon Singleton made his MLB debut last night after signing a contract extension for a "guaranteed five years through 2018, plus club options for three more seasons," a move that is as "fascinating to the industry as it is exciting for Astros fans," according to Evan Drellich of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The deal, which could keep him "under Astros control potentially through 2021," marks MLB's first "long-term extension for a player who has no major league service time." Media reports have Singleton earning $10M during the first five years, with the potential for the deal to increase to $35M if all three options are picked up. The deal potentially delays Singleton's free agency "from after the 2020 season to after 2021." Singleton "presents a risk, both to the Astros' on-field productivity and his own earning power, because of admitted abuses of marijuana and alcohol." However, the team believes those "off-the-field troubles are behind him." Singleton beginning the season in the minors "suggests the Astros timed the call-up for service-time and financial reasons, not only for merit" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/3). MLB.com's Brian McTaggart noted the Astros "haven't been shy about trying to sign their young players to club-friendly deals before they reach arbitration." The club signed 2B Jose Altuve last season to a four-year, $17M extension with two options, and it has "also approached" RF George Springer, LF Robbie Grossman and 3B Matt Dominguez about signing extensions (MLB.com, 6/2). Not everyone saw the deal as a positive, with Orioles P Bud Norris, a former Astros prospect, writing on Twitter, "Sorry but this Singleton deal is terrible. Wish ... Jon listened to the union and not his agent." YAHOO SPORTS' Mike Oz noted MLBers do not give "opinions of other players' contracts often" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/3).

LATEST ON CSN HOUSTON: In Houston, David Barron reports Comcast SportsNet Houston’s exclusive 120-day window to “file its plan to reorganize” in U.S. Bankruptcy Court is slated to expire today. The law firm representing the RSN yesterday asked for “an additional 30 days to file its plan.” The request was approved by officials from the Rockets, Astros and Comcast. The "fact that attorneys are seeking extra time could indicate that progress is being made" toward "revamping the troubled CSN Houston partnership" (CHRON.com, 6/3). Astros GM Jeff Luhnow yesterday appeared on MLB Network and gave an update on the proceedings. He said, "A lot of effort’s going into that. I’m not intimately involved day to day, but I do know there are people optimistic that we’re going to get this resolved. We are going to get this product on TV and we are going to be able to show our fans what’s going on here at Minute Maid [Park]. Right now there’s quite a few that can’t see it. It’s one of those things that has been unfortunate over the past few years, but I’ll tell you it is Jim Crane's No. 1 priority and it will get done at some point" (“MLB Now,” MLB Network, 6/3).
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