ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers have made their first promised splash of the winter by allegedly agreeing to a contract with former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien.
Semien, 31, spent two years establishing himself as a big leaguer with the Chicago White Sox, before playing with the Oakland Athletics for six seasons, finished third in the 2021 AL MVP voting after a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger campaign at second base in his lone season with the Blue Jays.
Texas is now set to reap the rewards of a player seen as an under-the-radar top performer coming off his best season.
A shortstop for most of his career, Semien will be joining the Rangers to provide much needed prowess in the lineup and a steadying glove in the infield. He could move back to his original position and supplant mainstay Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Texas could utilize him as the stalwart at second base that the club has missed since the days of Ian Kinsler.
A career .256/.324/.444 hitter, Semien was a solid contributor in Oakland for years before enjoying a breakout season in 2019 when he produced a line of .285/.369/.522 and a career-high 33 home runs on his way to a top-3 finish in the AL MVP voting. After the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, Semien signed for one year in Toronto and put up even better numbers.
In 2021, Semien obliterated his career best home run total as he smacked 45 for the Blue Jays to go along with a career-high 102 RBI. While terms of the deal haven't been officially announced by the club, it has been reported that Semien is coming to Texas on a seven-year, $175MM contract.
As a member of the A’s, Semien spent several years tormenting the Rangers with a career .294/.357/.495 batting line in 106 games against Texas. Now he’ll join the Rangers in their quest to return relevancy with games in October as the goal. If Semien is able to lead them there, he’ll be ready. The 2021 All-Star has a career batting line of .371/.450/.571 in nine postseason games.
The signing starts the process of fulfilling a promise that the Rangers’ front office made going into the winter following the first 100-loss season in club history since 1973. After back-to-back last place finishes in the AL West, the Rangers let it be known that they would pay top dollar to get better.
With money to spend, Texas landed one of the top free agents on the market and they might not be done yet. The Rangers could still be after one of the top shortstops in an unprecedented free agent class at the position which would allow Semien to remain at second base. Outfield and starting pitching could also be an area where Texas aims to improve.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reports the Rangers also reached a deal with right-hander Jon Gray for four years, $56 million.
Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reports Texas has an agreement with outfielder Kole Calhoun.
The Texas Rangers finally ignited the Hot Stove and there’s reason to believe they plan to keep it burning.
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