MLB may be bringing down the hammer on the used of steroids and PEDs, but apparently some drug use might get a pass; depending on the player of course. Today the Houston Astros gave such a pass to first baseman Jon Singleton when they signed him to a contract that could give him $30 million over 8 seasons. In baseball money, some of us might be thinking that isn’t a whole lot, especially when it seems like $100 million+ contracts are handed out to elite players all the time.
However, Singleton’s prior professional experience included less than 450 at bats and long list of off-field issues. Singleton has flat out said that he’s addicted to marijuana.
Singleton told the Associated Press during spring training: “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict.” He went on to detail what he called an addiction to marijuana, saying: “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.”
So what’s the punishment for being a self-proclaimed drug addict in the pro-baseball world? That would be a contract given to Singleton that guarantees him $10 million without him ever playing a single game in the majors. In fact, it seems like the Astros were flat out ignoring Singleton’s marijuana addiction and were trying to help move him along to the majors as quickly and smoothly as possible. They placed him on their 40-man roster back in October; a move that would render him safe from drug testing for minor league players and subsequently missing out on a 50-game suspension. All this came after Singleton reportedly went missing for days.
Singleton definitely seems to have the talent that the team is looking for. His stats in Triple A were an amazing .267/.397/.544 with 14 HRs in 54 games. However, the risk seems crazy for the Astros to take. Singleton recently made a what he called a joke in which he said,
“[I] wouldn’t sign an autograph for a fan “[u]nless you got weed. Aha joke.”
Supposedly Singleton has stopped using weed, but he also told AP that life without it was very difficult.
“I went through some slight anxiety, some depression because I wasn’t being successful. That was definitely difficult and that drove me to drink.” He admitted to “waking up hung over every morning.”
Everything about Singleton is screaming for the Astros to run in the other direction, but maybe they know something we don’t. Indeed if Singleton pans out to be the type of player that the Astros are hoping he will, then he will lose out on a lot of earning potential on the back end being tied into this contract. Maybe the Astros just had $10 million to throw away. I’m not sure, but the outcome to this gamble will be interesting to see.
[h/t Yahoo Sports]