At least one major leaguer is not pleased with the Jon Singleton deal

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An eighth round pick with no big league experience probably doesn’t have a ton of money in the bank. So when he signs a deal that guarantees him $10 million and could net him $35 million despite the fact that he is three years from having any sort of negotiating leverage it’s not exactly a sad story.

But Jon Singleton’s story is an interesting one that goes to the heart of team-player power dynamics. As in, Singleton obtained that $10 million worth of security by giving up the chance to snag many times that amount of money if he’s even a slightly above average major leaguer over the next few seasons. And the Astros used their collectively-bargained leverage over him to maximal levels in order to get that deal. In essence, they told him that if he wants to be in the bigs now, he has to sign. He signed.

While all of that went down between two willing parties and was subject to the clear rules of the system, some people aren’t too happy about that. One of those people is Orioles pitcher Bud Norris, who thinks Singleton made a bad deal that could set a bad precedent for other players:

I get that sentiment. If one player takes a deal that saves the team a ton of money and could cost the player a ton if things break right there will be more attempts by teams to get players to take such deals. Over time, that lowers salaries and that’s not a good thing from the players’ and union’s perspective. And even for Singleton himself, if he comes up and puts up even one good half season before signing anything, he stands to make much more even on a deal that buys out his arbitration and one of his free agent years.

But even if I see all that — and even if I’d handle it differently for myself or advise Singleton differently if I were his agent — I’m having a hard time getting on board with Norris and any other players or union folks who have a problem with this.

For one thing, it’s Singleton’s life and $10 million over five years is likely to change it dramatically. If he got his arm lopped off by a dwarf with a battle-axe tomorrow, he’d have a cushion of cash on which to live. We talk about player and contract value in the quasi-abstract all the time and to some extent we become immune to how large these numbers we talk about are. This is Singleton’s life and Singleton’s choice and union politics aside, that has to be respected.

[RELATED: How does Singleton fit into Houston’s lineup?]

But more to the point: the Bud Norrises of the world (i.e. veteran players) are what subjected Singleton to the Astros’ leverage in the first place. It’s not written in stone that players don’t reach arbitration for three years and free agency for six. That was negotiated by the union. A union which, in recent years anyway, has frequently seen fit to bargain away the rights of amateur and minor league players in negotiations at the expense of things that better-serve veteran players. Why are there slotting and bonus caps in the draft now? Why do minor leaguers make almost zero money and live in deplorable conditions? It’s because no one with the power to help them out — be it the teams who control their destiny in the first instance or the players who could use their power to help them out in the second instance — gives much of a crap about them. Maybe if Singleton’s life in Oklahoma City was more comfortable he’d feel more comfortable waiting the Astros’ out and negotiating a better deal for himself. I guess we’ll never know.

Clearly this is a difficult issue — any gamble on one’s own future that could impact others’ futures brings with it some hard choices — but it takes a pretty entitled and narrow-minded person to not see that Singleton’s incentives were predetermined and his choices somewhat limited by virtue of a system that was set up long before het had to make his choice.

US routs Cuba 14-2 to reach World Baseball Classic final

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MIAMI (AP) — Trea Turner and Paul Goldschmidt and an unrelenting U.S. lineup kept putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard, a dynamic display of the huge gap between an American team of major leaguers and Cubans struggling on the world stage as top players have left the island nation.

Turner homered twice to give him a tournament-leading four, driving in four runs to lead the U.S. to a 14-2 rout Sunday night and advance the defending champion Americans to the World Baseball Classic final.

Goldschmidt also homered and had four RBIs and Cedric Mullins went deep in a game interrupted three times by fans running on the field to display protest signs.

“The team kind of represents the government over there, and people aren’t too happy about it,” U.S. manager Mark DeRosa said.

The U.S. plays Japan or Mexico in Tuesday night’s championship, trying to join the Samurai Warriors as the only nations to win the title twice.

“I think it took us a little bit of time, but now we kind of found our stride a little bit,” Turner said.

Turner has a tournament-leading 10 RBIs. He followed his go-ahead, eighth-inning grand slam a night earlier against Venezuela with a solo homer in the second inning off Roenis Elias (0-1) and a three-run drive in the sixth against Elian Leyva.

“I kept saying every time he went deep, who is the idiot that’s hitting him ninth?” DeRosa said.

Cuba went ahead when its first four batters reached off Adam Wainwright (2-0) without getting a ball out of the infield. The 41-year-old right-hander recovered to strand the bases loaded.

“I put myself in that situation in the first place by making horrible PFP plays — or not making PFP plays,” Wainwright said in a reference to pitchers’ fielding practice.

American batters had 14 hits, including eight for extra bases, and seven walks. Goldschmidt hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the first on a 112 mph rocket high over the left-field wall. He added a two-run single in the fifth.

“For me that was one of my favorite home runs I’ve ever hit in my entire life,” Goldschmidt said.

St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado left after he was hit on a hand by a pitch in the fifth inning, briefly raising another injury concern before X-rays came back as negative. Mets closer Edwin Díaz sustained a season-ending knee injury during the celebration that followed Puerto Rico’s win on Wednesday and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve broke a thumb when hit by a pitch while playing for Venezuela on Saturday.

Fans in the sellout crowd of 35,779 at loanDepot Park sounded evenly split between the U.S. and Cuba. Several hundred people gathered before the game outside the ballpark in Miami’s Little Havana section to protest the presence of the Cuban team, whose island nation has been under communist rule since 1959.

Play was briefly interrupted in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings when fans ran onto the field. The first held a banner that read “Libertad Para Los Presos Cubanos del 11 de Julio (Freedom for the Cuban Prisoners of July 11)” referring to the date of 2021 demonstrations.

“There were provocations, but we never paid attention to it,” Cuba manager Armando Johnson said.

Cuban fans roared in the early going when their team’s first four batters strung together three infield hits and a bases-loaded walk. Wainwright allowed one run and five hits in four innings. Cardinals teammate Miles Mikolas followed with four innings and Aaron Loup finished.

An Olympic gold medalist in 1992, 1996 and 2004, Cuba’s national team has struggled in recent years as many top players left for MLB. Cuba failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Cuba for the first time this year is using some players under contract to MLB clubs, including Chicago White Sox Gold Glove centerfielder Luis Robert and third baseman Yoán Moncada — who were booed. But many Cuban big leaguers were absent.

“We would like for the other players to join,” Johnson said. “They should think about it and return to Cuba.”

SECOND GUESSED

DeRosa on what he did after Saturday night’s come-from-behind quarterfinal win over Venezuela.

“I was reading how horrible a manager I was on social media first,” he said.

OTHER SIDE OF THE BRACKET

In the other semifinal, Japan starts 21-year-old sensation Roki Sasaki against Mexico and the Los Angeles Angels’ Patrick Sandoval on Monday night.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Moncada left after the third baseman collided in the sixth inning with left fielder Roel Santos, who caught Kyle Schwarber’s fly. Moncada was hit on the ribs but is OK, Johnson said.

UP NEXT

Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly is likely to start the final.