The Oakland Athletics will have some competition for free agent shortstop Marcus Semien.
The MLB Hot Stove season hasn’t gotten off to the raucous start like we’ve been spoiled with in recent years. There have been some huge trades (i.e. Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets, Blake Snell and Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres), but not much on the free agency front. Even with the slow pace, Oakland Athletics infielder Marcus Semien has quite the market for him.
According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and the Athletics have engaged in negotiations with Semien “to some extent.”
Semien is coming off strong postseason
The Phillies and Reds make sense considering their 2020 shortstops in Didi Gregorius and Freddy Galvis are free agents as well. The Red Sox don’t need a shortstop since they have Xander Bogaerts manning the position, but will target Semien to be their second baseman, per Bowden.
Oakland chose not to extend an $18.9 million qualifying offer to Semien for the 2021 season. It doesn’t mean they’re completely out on Semien, but they’d like to pursue a longer-term contract instead of throwing $18.9 million for one season. Given that the aforementioned names are in need of infielders, the Athletics will have to enter a bidding war they may very well not win.
Semien is two years removed from finishing third-place in the AL MVP voting, where he slashed .285/.369/.522 while recording 33 home runs and 92 RBI. 2020 was quite the drop for Semien in the 60-game shortened season, where he did record a .223 batting average and .679 OPS. But he redeemed himself in the postseason.
In seven games this past playoffs, Semien slashed .407/.484/.667 along while recording 11 hits, six runs scored, two home runs and four RBI.
With Spring Training on the horizon, you can expect things to heat up for Semien at the negotiation table. If we’re to guess as to when Semien will put pen to paper, it’ll probably come after DJ LeMahieu signs his deal.