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.

Semien hit streak to 24, scores winning run as Rangers walk-off Cards 4-3

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Nathaniel Lowe hit a game-ending RBI single with one out in the ninth inning and the AL West-leading Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.

Marcus Semien, who had already extended his majors-best hitting streak to 24 games with two hits, had a one-out walk in the ninth off Génesis Cabrera (1-1). Semien scored the winning run when Lowe hit an opposite-field grounder through the left side of the infield.

Corey Seager had followed Semien with a single, a popup to shallow left field that third baseman Nolan Arenado chased down but was unable to catch.

Rangers closer Will Smith (1-2) worked a scoreless ninth for the victory.

The Cardinals, who have lost four straight, tied the game in the eighth after loading the bases with no outs against rookie reliever Grant Anderson. Some botched baserunning cost them a chance to take the lead after Paul Goldschmidt’s sacrifice fly.

Arenado then had a drive to deep left, though the two base runners were close to each other when the ball ricocheted off the wall as left fielder Ezequiel Duran slammed into it. Nolan Gorman scored the tying run but when Tommy Edman retreated toward third after making the turn, Arenado was sliding into the base. Edman got tagged out and Arenado slammed his helmet near the plate after Willson Contreras‘ inning-ending grounder.

Semien’s streak-stretching hit was an RBI single that put the Rangers up 3-1 in the second, when he was the third consecutive batter to drive in a run off Adam Wainwright. The inning began with back-to-back singles by Jonah Heim and Mitch Garver before Duran’s RBI double and an RBI groundout by Leody Taveras.

The 24-game hitting streak for Semien is the longest in the majors this season and the longest in his career. The Rangers’ franchise record is 28, set in 2000 by Gabe Kapler, now the manager of the San Francisco Giants.

St. Louis got an unearned run in the second when Contreras reached on a two-base error after right fielder Adolis Garcia dropped a flyball and scored on a single by Paul DeJong.

FOR STARTERS

Rangers starter Martín Pérez allowed one unearned run over seven innings. The left-hander struck out five, walked one and allowed only three singles. The 41-year-old Wainwright gave up three runs and eight hits while throwing a season-high 106 pitches (64 strikes) over 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander hasn’t pitched past the sixth inning in any of his six starts, but has gone at least five innings in all of them, since missing the first 33 games this season because of a groin injury sustained during the World Baseball Classic.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Dylan Carson (left ankle) will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Memphis. He has been out since twisting his ankle May 14 against Boston.

Rangers: Transferred RHP Jacob deGrom (right elbow inflammation) from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day IL, and activated RHP Spencer Howard from the 60-day IL. … RHP Jonathan Hernández was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.

UP NEXT

RHP Dane Dunning (4-1, 2.06 ERA) makes his sixth start since filling in deGrom’s spot in the rotation. Dunning is 2-1 with 2.28 ERA in that span. Lefty Matthew Liberatore (1-1, 4.91) will be on the mound Tuesday night for the Cardinals.