Over the next month or so I am going to be doing free agent break downs. I believe this market is going to be extremely slow as teams re-evaluate their finances after a covid season, so we should have time to get plenty of these done before everyone signs.
Marcus Semien is a 30 year old shortstop who has played for the A’s since 2015. He was originally a 6th round pick by the White Sox and made his debut in Chicago, playing mostly 2B and 3B. He was traded to Oakland in the deal that sent Jeff Samardzja to Chicago. Semien struggled in Chicago but Billy Beane must have seen something in him as he traded one of his best pitching talents for him. Since the A’s acquired him, he has strictly played shortstop, where he’s proven to be a liability at times because of unforced errors. His bat is what people come to see, however. 2019 was his breakout season as he finished 3rd in MVP voting by slashing .285/.369/.522 with 33 homers and 92 RBI’s. He came back to Earth this year as he had a somewhat average year. I put a large asterisks on this season because of how weird it was. In 2019, Marcus Semien was by far the best hitter on the A’s and one of the best hitters on the planet and because of this, he will warrant a lot of eyes in free agency.
The Case to Bring him Back
Most of these free agent breakdown articles, I will give reasons for a team to bring their free agent back. For this one however, I am going to go out on a limb and guarantee the A’s let Semien go. They declined his qualifying offer of 1-year, $18 million and are the organization best known for not giving out big contracts. I think Semien’s 2019 earned him a large payday and the A’s are not going to be the ones giving it to him. Bringing him back would be a great move as they keep one of their main hitting pieces and Oakland is in playoff contention every year. With all that being said, I’d think he’s as good as gone.
The Perfect Fits
The Reds are reportedly in the market for a shortstop, as it was probably their biggest hole in 2020. I think Semien would slot in perfectly and fill the position at not too steep a price. The Reds would add to their power bat lineup and get a much more consistent hitting shortstop than they had last year.
The Indians are going to trade Lindor. It’s a given at this point. That does, however, leave a spot open in their lineup for a shortstop. The Indians still have a very good team on paper, they just simply can’t afford to pay Lindor. So they’d be bringing in a good bat to replace Lindor’s while paying a fraction of the price. They would also stay relevant and competitive, which would give the fans something to be happy about after trading the best player on the team.
The Cardinals are said to be in on the Lindor sweepstakes so clearly shortstop is not something they are fully happy with in their organization. Paul De Jong played shortstop for them mostly this year. I think Semien would fit perfectly in that lineup and they’d have the option to either use De Jong as a utility guy or trade him for other pieces. I think the Cardinals could really use a boost in their lineup and I think Semien could fit that bill extremely well.
The Angles main need is pitching but they could afford to bring in Semien as well as fix the holes at pitcher. This move makes sense if Andrelton Simmons leaves in free agency. The Angels would bring in a good shortstop to replace Andrelton and probably become a better all around lineup. Hitting behind or even in front of Trout and Rendon would make life a lot easier for Semien and I think Anaheim is a place he could really succeed.
The Yankees are one of the only teams that can really pay their utility players a lot of money and be perfectly fine. They have been reported to be interested in Andrelton Simmons to help defensively at shortstop. Semien is not much of an upgrade over Gleyber Torres in the field but the Yankees have had serious injury problems the past few years so bringing in an extra bat who they could move around and use in many different ways would make a lot of sense to me. I think Simmons makes more sense but I would not be shocked to see the Yankees bring in Semien.
This move would only make sense if they lose Didi Gregorious in free agency. The Phillies may have money to spend as it is reported that they will likely not be bring back JT Realmuto. I think Semien is a good option for them as they will have a hole at shortstop and they’re lineup could really use some power. If JT does leave, their lineup will take a huge hit and Semien could be used to slightly help plug that hole at a much cheaper cost than JT is warranting.
My final prediction for his contract is not one of the perfect fits but actually one of the Good Fits.
Prediction: Semien signs with the St. Louis Cardinals on a 2-year $35 million deal with a 3rd year club option.
Thank you for reading all of this. I will continue to write up these free agent previews throughout the offseason. If there is anyone specifically you want me to write about please comment below and I will get to them!