jon singleton getty

Here’s a neat idea: players like Jon Singleton should look into “human capital contracts”

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We talked about the stuff with Jon Singleton the other day. How he took what will probably end up being a well-below-market value from the Astros. At least well-below market if he becomes a solid everyday player. But hey, given the system, that’s what he felt he had to do in order to abrogate his risk.

But what if he had another option? Like the option D.R. at The Economist suggests: Singleton basically selling bonds to investors backed by future earnings?

The other possibility is a free-market solution from outside baseball: human-capital contracts, in which players would sell a share of their future earnings in exchange for cash up front. Just like the deal Mr Singleton accepted, such arrangements would guarantee athletes’ future financial security regardless of their on-field performance. But rather than having to negotiate with a single team, players could auction off the rights to a given percentage of their wages to the highest bidder, thus securing fair market value for the expected income. They would then be free either to take their chances with salary arbitration on a year-to-year basis, or to demand a far richer extension from their employer.

I’m not an expert in the Collective Bargaining Agreement or MLB rules along these lines, but at first blush I can’t see why this wouldn’t be allowed. It’d be like any other outside investment scenario that is none of baseball’s business, right? Or would someone consider it gambling or something?

I doubt baseball players break ground here — it’s somewhat radical for the sport and it’s the sort of thing that might get you labeled an oddball or egomaniac or something by teammates and the press, but I at least think it’d be legal. Someone let me know if I’m wrong, though.

Either way, it’s pretty cool.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.