Quantcast

astros logoWe’ve been waiting for this kind of thing to happen, and it’s no surprise that it’s the prospect-laden, forward-thinking Houston Astros that made the move.

Today, the Astros not only reportedly made plans to call up top first base prospect Jonathan Singleton tomorrow, but they also inked him – with no big league experience – to a five-year, $10 million contract extension (Jeff Passan). The Astros get three option years tacked onto the end, which could raise the total value to $35 million. It’s the first time a prospect has been given a long-term extension like this before he actually reached the big leagues.

The deal is extremely team-friendly because, by risking just $10 million, the Astros gain the flexibility to pick up the cheap options on Singleton when he reaches arbitration, or simply go through arbitration (if they feel that will be a better deal in the first couple years of arbitration, because he won’t yet have enough service time for free agency), or let him go altogether. They also get a cheap option year that covers Singleton’s first year of arbitration.

The deal is also not a terrible move for Singleton, who isn’t necessarily a lock for big league success, and who now has a guarantee of $10 million. If he flamed out in any of the next three years, he could have wound up making just a tenth of that.

The relevance to the Cubs here should be pretty obvious, as they, too, are a forward-thinking organization with many top prospects moving toward the big leagues. If these kinds of conversations – in a very general way, at least – haven’t already occurred with guys like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, I’d be surprised. They may not have any interest in such a deal, and they also may not be ready for the big leagues, but, I’m just saying: it’s a conversation to have.

I suspect we’ll see more and more of these kinds of deals in the next few years. Increasingly, teams are will to bet on a player’s younger years, risking a healthy guarantee on someone who hasn’t yet shown big league success … but a much smaller guarantee than you’d have to give once a player is established (or, God forbid, a free agent).

It’s a nice carrot for teams to dangle in front of prospects – especially great ones who don’t much like being held down for service time reasons: if you sign this deal, which guarantees you a nice chunk of cash, we’ll call you up right now.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+