Not a big signing, but hey, it’s somethin’ to talk about: Jerry Crasnick reports that the Kansas City Royals have signed Kevin Kouzmanoff to a minor league deal.
It includes an invitation to the big league camp. As is often the case with veterans like him on minor league deals, he has an opt-out if he’s not in the majors by May 1. If he does make the big league roster he’ll make $1 million. Incentives in the deal can bump it up to $1.3 million.
Kouzmanoff has been a starter for most of his career, but only had 257 plate appearances between Colorado and Oakland last season. In Kansas City he would be behind Mike Moustakas. Who, while young and promising, struggled a bit when he was called up last season and could probably use a backup/mentor type to help him complete his transition to big league life.
The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”
Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.
If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.