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.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.