The Toronto Blue Jays are linked to several free agents, but if they strike out on those, they could explore signing Marcus Semien
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The Toronto Blue Jays are one of the most
talked rumoured about teams in baseball these days. The industry belief is that they have the right resources to be aggressive this winter. That belief has led to them being linked to just about anyone out there. MLBTR has them signing D.J. LeMahieu for $68M over 4 yrs. They’ve also been linked to Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer and other presumed “big fish”. It’s an exciting time, to be sure, but it could very easily become a disappointment if the club misses out on these players. Things happen and sometimes a team can be as aggressive as they want, but it doesn’t yield the intended results. Preparing for that leads us to Marcus Semien.
A club so strongly linked to Francisco Lindor is one that doesn’t mind moving their young star shortstop off of his position if it helps the team. Whether Bo Bichette feels the same way, remains to be seen. Sure, he’d likely move to third or even second – which leaves Cavan Biggio to play third or everywhere else like we’ve seen – but the ream test is whether Bo sees Semien as someone worth moving for. Just because the team does, doesn’t mean he will.
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Assuming this isn’t an issue, Semien is an interesting idea for the Blue Jays. His 2020 season wasn’t exactly stellar and time will tell how much stock teams put into the performances in a 60 game season, but if you look at his numbers in 2020, you might be rolling your eyes at this piece. How could he be a realistic back up plan for a Blue Jays team looking to build on their success?
Well, if you look at Semien’s 2019 season, you get a very different story. He finished third in MVP voting. He led the league with 747 plate appearances and played every game that season. He put up 33 HR and an OPS approaching .900 for a 7.6 fWAR in what was his best season as a big leaguer. Sure, one season like this does not show the full picture, but Semien has put up at least 1.4 fWAR in each season since 2015. Even in the short 2020 season, he put up 1.2 fWAR.
Defensively, Semien hasn’t exactly been a contender for a Gold Glove, but he has improved, putting up 14 and 12 DRS in 2018 and 2019 respectively. He also comes with an ability to run well and steal bases, which would fit the Blue Jays’ lineup rather nicely.
At Fangraphs, Craig Edwards calls Semien a “Potential Bargain Free Agent”, yet he doesn’t stand out on many Top Free Agent lists. MLBTR has him in the 15th spot, taking a one year deal from the Angels for $14M. If Toronto is willing to give him multiple years, he would have to listen. Edwards points out that Semien is known for having a strong work ethic and good ‘make up’, which is something the Blue Jays covet.
What makes Semien an interesting option for Toronto is that his price could be a much more comfortable pill to swallow. He is coming off a down season and hasn’t had consistently elite production. We should also consider that next year’s free agent class will be rather stocked with short stops and Semien might want to avoid that situation by signing this year. Edwards notes that, if he had a full season in 2020, he could be looking at a $100M deal. But, that is not the case. All things considered, Edwards feels that a deal worth half that could be a “huge bargain”.
IF the Blue Jays are looking to find an infielder, and IF it is a short stop – the argument can be made that they don’t need one and we are only talking about it because a stud like Lindor is available and they really need to address their rotation- then Semien could make sense for them. He would be a good addition to their roster and very well could be a less expensive option than some of the names they’re linked to. None of this is to say that they NEED to rush out and get Marcus Semien. They very much should be looking at the top end of talent at this point. BUT, if they strike out on those, they might want to consider Semien.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.