Whatever happened to Jon Singleton?
Remember Jon Singleton’s historic $10 million dollar deal last year that was in the development stage around this time, that was made before he even made his Major League debut?
The deal guaranteed Singleton $10 million and could be worth as much as over $30 million over eight years, with three team options on the back end, including a $13 million club option in 2021, which would potentially keep Singleton in an Astros uniform until he turned 30-years-old.
Singleton was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2011 trade that sent the popular Astros outfielder Hunter Pence to the City of Brotherly Love. It was a deal that didn’t set well with a lot of fans. Rightfully so, as seeing Pence moving onto greener pastures in return for a player who had admitted to battling a marijuana addiction and was suspended the first 50 games of 2011 for a violation of Major League baseball’s drug policy would upset any fan base.
Of course, Singleton was just a part of that deal, the Astros also got pitchers, Jarred Cosart, Josh Zied and a player to be named later, that turned out to be Domingo Santana, who is ranked by Baseball America as the Astros #12 prospect. Cosart would go on and be a part of the trade with Miami that brought the Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick to Houston, as well as minor league third baseman, Colin Moran, RHP Francis Marte and a 2015 compensatory draft pick.
Regardless of what happens with Singleton this season and beyond, the Astros came out ahead in the trade of Hunter Pence to the Phillies and the ripple effect that deal had on other transactions leading up to this season.
Last year Singleton hit 13 homers for the Astros in 95 games. Those home runs will get you excited, but he batted just .168/.285/.335 overall. Singleton was probably going to be destined for a stint in the minors this year, regardless of what the Astros did in the offseason.
The Astros were busy in the offseason, and that didn’t help Singleton’s chances of making the Major League club out of Spring Training. The writing was on the wall, (there is a lot of writing on the walls in Houston’s front office) the addition of Evan Gattis, Colby Rasmus, the emergence of center fielder Jake Marisnick this spring and Chris Carter’s 37 home runs last season, meant that Singleton, the Astros first baseman of the future, was going to start the season in the minors, and the future would have to wait.
Singleton has gotten off to a dreadful start this season. In 24 games, 90 at-bats he is hitting .222 with 5 HRs and 11 RBIs. Those numbers are bad enough, but it gets worse. In his last 10 games, Singleton is hitting just .114 (4-for-35) with two home runs and two RBIs. On a positive note, he’s walked eight times in his last ten games and his .340 OBP, on the season, as a rule, is considered above average and OBP carries a lot of weight in baseball today.
Rumors have it that the Astros will probably make some roster moves this week that could include sending their top prospect, shortstop Carlos Correa to Triple-A Fresno. They have to make at least one corresponding move to accomplish that transaction.
To make room for Correa, one has to wonder would the Astros consider sending Singleton, who they are paying $2 million this season, down to Double-A to help get his “A” game back and give him a chance to build up his confidence?
Then again, what if Singleton’s “A” game is, 24 games into the season, hitting .222 with 5 HRs and 11 RBIs. Is that good enough for a Major League future?
It’s been reported that the Astros are willing to spend some money and make a deal to get some help for the rotation, that said, is there a team, that would take Singleton as part of a deal that would send a veteran starter to Houston?
For now, that $13 million option, in 2021, seems a million miles away.
“Whatever happened to Jon Singleton?” may become an Astros broadcast trivia question in 2021.