In the latest acknowledgment of their dwindling depth at first base, the Astros reunited with former top prospect Jon Singleton on Saturday, signing him to a minor-league deal and sending him to Triple-A Sugar Land.
Re-signing Singleton represents a full-circle moment for the Astros, who once viewed the slugging first baseman as a future cornerstone of their lineup. Houston acquired him from the Philadelphia Phillies in July 2011 as part of a trade that sent Hunter Pence to Philadelphia.
Singleton skyrocketed up prospect lists and, in 2014, signed a five-year, $10 million guaranteed contract before ever making his major-league debut. It was the first extension ever signed by a player with no major-league service time.
Singleton played just 114 major-league games with the Astros. He struck out 151 times, slugged .331 and notched just 14 home runs.
Struggles with marijuana addiction — which Singleton first revealed in a 2014 interview with The Associated Press — hindered him throughout his Astros tenure. Singleton acknowledged to the Associated Press that he required a stint in inpatient rehab after failing his second drug test.
Singleton received three drug suspensions while with the Astros, including a 100-game ban during the 2018 season. The Astros released him shortly thereafter. Singleton did not play affiliated baseball again until 2022 when the Milwaukee Brewers — then run by former Astros executive David Stearns — signed him to a minor-league contract.
Singleton posted an .809 OPS across 134 games at Triple-A Nashville last season before returning to the big leagues in May for an 11-game cameo. The Brewers designated him for assignment on June 17 and Singleton elected free agency in lieu of an outright assignment to Triple A.
Adding Singleton only accentuates the Astros’ mess at first base. Heralded free-agent signing José Abreu entered Saturday with a .587 OPS — worse than any other qualified hitter in the sport — and has not played in either of the team’s last two games.
The team called up Bligh Madris before Friday’s game to provide at least some semblance of proven depth at the position, but Madris does not have a sterling major-league track record. Nor does Singleton, but perhaps the team hopes his power and plate discipline from the left side could afford some legitimate depth this club does not have.
(Photo: Rob Leiter / MLB Photos via Getty Images)