Note To Writers: Jonathan Singleton Is Set For Life
A year ago, Astros prospect Jonathan Singleton was in the dog house. Between a suspension for pot and out of shape return where he struck out 30.3% of the time, the first baseman hit rock bottom. Rated no lower than 27th on any major prospect list entering 2013, he fell out of the top-50, ranking as low as 82. Of course a top-100 ranking still speaks to a quality prospect, but the same writers ripping him for signing a “team friendly” contract before ever seeing a big league pitch are the ones ripping him for under performing. Pick a side and stick with it!
In actuality, Jonathan Singleton went from outhouse to penthouse in a few months. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to say the left-handed hitter should have bet on himself like Jeff Samardzija did with the Cubs. To a man, it’s an admirable stance to take — trust in one’s ability and work toward the collective good. For now, we applaud the right-handed pitcher and his 3.36 xFIP. If he succumbed to a UCL injury like 20 other MLB pitchers have this year, would his holding out have the same effect? Would it still be viewed as a smart play?
The funny thing is, the same baseball bloggers who’ll rip Jonathan Singleton’s decision over the next 24-48 hours would sell their souls for a $40,000 per year writing gig. 1o million is monopoly money to them, yet it’s not enough for the eighth round pick who received a $200,000 signing bonus. Not enough for a player who spent parts of six seasons riding buses, sleeping in hotel rooms and eating McDonald’s extra value meals because the food stipend was a paltry sum. Divide Jonathan Singleton’s signing bonus over six years and he averaged $33,333.333 per year before adding in his minor league salary — riches approximately half as much as a fast food worker. Before today, he wasn’t a rich man.
Jonathan Singleton Is A Millionaire. Deal With It!
Baseball injuries are as much of a guarantee as death and taxes (which Singleton will be paying plenty of). Is Matt Moore rehabbing and thinking, “damn that financial security. If I was playing for the league minimum, I’d be working much harder to recover.” Heck no! He’s thankful to have his windfall. Martin Perez is too. Yes, position players are less likely to sustain such serious injuries, but the point is clear — a player isn’t guaranteed a healthy tomorrow. Some will deem themselves invincible, others who have experienced Jonathan Singleton’s ups and downs probably won’t.
At some point, baseball bloggers (and professional writers) need to wake up and acknowledge the human element. Baseball players like Singleton aren’t made of excel spreadsheets and replicated in factories. Maybe the first baseman favored financial security above all else? Maybe the goal was to buy the proverbial home for his parents? Maybe Jonathan Singleton wanted to buy a condo in downtown Houston and live in it for a few years as a core player for an improving team? A formula doesn’t exist for every player and what works for Singleton doesn’t have to work for George Springer, Gregory Polanco, or anybody else for that matter.
As of today, the future of the Singleton family (present and future) is secure. Doesn’t that amount to something? Let Jonathan Singleton (and the Astros) celebrate and understand 99.9% of us worker bees would have made the exact same choice.
2 Jun 2014 / Mike Newman / 1
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