Blue Jays To Signal Marcus Semien

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The Toronto Blue Jays continued their push to hitch the highest tier of contenders within the American League immediately. The Jays reached an settlement to signal free agent shortstop Marcus Semien to a one-year, $18MM deal. In Semien, GM Ross Atkins lands a high-ceiling bat for 2021 and takes one other important piece off the board.
Semien grew to become a star throughout his six seasons in Oakland, and but, it wasn’t a clear, linear course of. He started his profession with the White Sox, however discovered himself headed to Oakland as a part of the December 2014 Jeff Samardzija deal. For the following three seasons, Semien produced like a second-division starter, averaging 1.98 fWAR per 600 plate appearances. In 2018, the San Francisco native loved a mini-breakout by reducing his strikeout price from 22.zero p.c to 18.6 p.c and bumping his fWAR complete to three.9fWAR. A lot of that worth, nevertheless, got here on the defensive finish.
His bat caught up in a serious approach the next season as Semien slashed .285/.369/.522 with a career-high 33 residence runs, 13.7 p.c strikeout price, 10.6 p.c stroll price, and 138 wRC+. Whereas Semien’s 7.6 fWAR season earned him a third-place end in AL MVP voting, it’s honest to query whether or not one other hulk-out season is coming. He’s by no means been an All-Star (for what that’s value), and out of doors of his galvanizing 2019 marketing campaign, Semien hasn’t posted a wRC+ over 100. Even contemplating a down 2020, nevertheless, he has persistently been between 92 and 98 wRC+. Take that with the potential worth he brings on protection, and even when Semien doesn’t re-emerge as an MVP candidate, Toronto has acquired a high-floor participant with potential for extra.
Defensively, his glovework has acquired blended critiques: subpar numbers by Statcast’s Outs Above Common, however usually extra optimistic scores (at the least since 2018) by DRS and UZR. Regardless, transferring to second base ought to safe his glove as a plus asset. For that matter, Semien’s willingness to play second base is a boon for the Blue Jays. They will now proceed to flex star Bo Bichette at shortstop whereas transferring Cavan Biggio throughout the diamond to 3rd, as notes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (by way of Twitter).
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has notably been getting ready himself for reps at third base, although he’s extra to possible begin most video games at first. That foursome – Guerrero, Semien, Bichette, and Biggio – has the potential to type one of the fearsome infield teams within the recreation – particularly if their homegrown trio continues to develop into their huge potential.
This isn’t the primary firework Toronto has lit this winter. Their lineup now includes a well-fed George Springer, Kirby Yates and Tyler Chatwood will assist the bullpen, and don’t overlook that the offseason started with the Jays holding Robbie Ray of their rotation. Even after the additions of Springer and Semien (plus Hyun Jin Ryu final winter), their luxurious tax payroll is projected round $146MM. Whereas that’s miles from the posh tax line, it does symbolize a spending enhance, each when it comes to the posh tax rely and in actual {dollars}, the place their year-over-year payroll has jumped from roughly $118MM to $132MM.
When it comes to worth, the Jays did effectively to get a expertise like Semien on a one-year deal. MLBTR predicted a one-year, $14MM contract for Semien, so he’ll make barely extra in complete {dollars} than we anticipated. Seeing Andrelton Simmons signal for $7.5MM much less would possibly really feel disheartening at first, however Semien has the upper ceiling, and if nothing else, Toronto maintains the long-term integrity of the plan to maintain Bichette at brief by including Semien over Simmons. Toronto has infield prospects Jordan Groshans, Orelvis Martinez and Austin Martin who might be prepared to hitch the lineup earlier than lengthy, and Bichette has nearly as good an opportunity as any of them to stay at brief.
At second, Semien ought to bolster their lineup on either side of the ball whereas sustaining long-term flexibility. That type of flexibility has, in some methods, surpassed even uncooked expertise when it comes to the worth it holds for homeowners. To not point out, with Freddy Galvis signing in Baltimore and Simmons in Minnesota, the pool of free agent shortstops is quickly shrinking. Didi Gregorius is now the highest choice nonetheless obtainable in free company, with Jonathan Villar and Hanser Alberto behind him.
For Semien, he comes only a contact shy of what he would have made had the A’s prolonged a qualifying supply. Had Oakland prolonged the $18.9MM qualifying supply, they might have acquired a draft decide when Semien signed elsewhere, however they have been cautious of issuing a contract of that dimension, even on a one-year time period. Semien now will get to re-enter free company subsequent 12 months as a part of the stacked class of free agent shortstops which will embody Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and Javier Baez.
MLB Community’s Jon Heyman (by way of Twitter) first broke information of the deal, whereas ESPN’s Jeff Passan added the phrases of the deal (by way of Twitter), and the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal chimed in with Toronto’s defensive plans for Semien. Many have additionally famous that former All-Star second baseman Carlos Baerga broke this information earlier immediately on instagram. Picture courtesy of USA Immediately Sports activities Photographs.

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