With days to go until the collective agreement expires, the first domino has fallen into the crowded and talented shortstop market. But it’s not Carlos Correa or Corey Seager – it’s Marcus Semien, who reportedly signed a seven-year, $ 175 million deal with the Texas Rangers. It is a very successful deal for a club that hopes to start competing soon. It’s also a higher-than-expected number for Semien, which could indicate what the other best shortstops on the market will get. Here’s the breakdown of what matters in the game:
What does this mean for Semien
The infielder is a remarkable talent who was almost guaranteed to receive a major contract. But the figures released Sunday beat what had been even the most optimistic estimates for Semien.
FanGraphs had projected that it would receive four years and $ 120 million. the New York Post I had five years and $ 140 million; Athletic had five years and $ 148 million, and MLB commercial rumors six years and $ 138 million. Note that none of them included a seventh year or touched $ 150 million, let alone $ 175 million.
So how did Semien end up getting a deal like this? A great place to start is the fact that he leads all position players in baseball benchmark WAR since the beginning of 2019 (his 15.9 WAR beats Mookie Betts’ 15.0 and Juan Soto’s 14.5). MVP finalist twice in the last three seasons. He offers both power and speed, as the only player in the past three seasons to hit 85 or more home runs with 20 or more stolen bases, and he’s also remarkably durable – Semien has made just one trip to IL since making his major league debut. in 2013. (He played all 162 regular-season games in both 2019 and 2021.) While he has historically been a shortstop, last year he showed how skillfully he can handle second base, where he won his first Gold Glove. The bottom line here is as good as all of the above would suggest – Semien is a quality all-around player who has been one of the best in the game in recent years.
However, there are some points that slip it behind a name like Correa or Seager. The clearest is his age: At 31, he’s the oldest of the premium shortstop available this winter, all of whom are under 30. That seemed to make him more likely to sign a four- or five-year contract than anything else. long and thus made him a better option for a team that was in winning mode now. (This obviously didn’t happen! But more on the Rangers’ motivation below.) The other lingering question was tied to his story. Yes, Semien has looked like a star since 2019. But he had just looked like a solid player every year before that. That’s not a bad thing, of course, and Semien was remarkably consistent on that: He posted an OPS + between 95 and 99 in each of his first four full seasons in the majors. But it does mean that your long-term track record is not as established as that of other members of this class; Even if you are inclined to believe that it will stick to its recent production levels, this is a factor to consider. , particularly with his age.
Which boils down to a bottom line, something like this: Semien has shown that he can play at the highest level, and he has found a team that was willing to bet big that he would do the same in the future, for longer than he could. that nobody had imagined.
What does this mean for the Rangers
First, the obvious: this is very, very good for Texas! Semien is an excellent player, as detailed above, and this makes the Rangers considerably better than they were yesterday. It tackles a key area of need – shortstop was an obvious gap they needed to fill – and brings them closer to becoming a winning team.
But there are still valid questions about the fit here. Semien made perfect sense for a team that was already Ready for the playoffs: Texas is not that. (Unless additional big moves are coming, which looks like there might be.) The Rangers are five years away from their final winning season, and while they have begun putting the pieces together to come out of their rebuilding, they still don’t look like contenders. That makes Semien a somewhat curious choice, but it doesn’t make it a bad choice, and they’ve already started making complementary moves to make it fit better.
In addition to a shortstop, Texas needed starting pitching and some outfield help. The team began tackling both categories almost immediately – the Rangers reportedly now agree with former Rockies pitcher Jon Gray for four years and $ 56 million and also with gardener Kole Calhoun. With Gray, they are betting on unlocking the silver lining in a pitcher who has historically been an up and down mid-rotation arm. (Just releasing him from Coors Field should help.) With Calhoun, they are getting potentially useful depth. These moves don’t necessarily make a winning team, at least not by themselves or right away. (Remember: the Rangers are not knocking so much on the door right now, they are still climbing the front steps within sight of the door.) But they help lay the foundation. And they would make even more sense when paired with an even bigger and more eye-catching signature, such as, for example, other premium shortstop?
Yeah we know, you’re reading about how they just signed a great contract for shortstop Marcus Semien. But Semien can play second, he’s probably a better fit in the long term than the short term, and He’s reportedly interested in sticking to the cornerstone if he has to accommodate another shortstop.. That would allow the Rangers to add someone like Trevor Story, which is the kind of deal that could help catapult them into the fray sooner than these moves alone would. And they could probably use another gardener as well, while they’re at it. Would that be a lot for an offseason? Of course. But given the amount of ground Texas has to cover to get to .500 (this team lost 102 games in 2021!), It makes a lot more sense to think of these moves as a beginning rather than an end. Signing Semien and Gray is an indication that the Rangers would like to start winning sooner rather than later. It is logical that they keep looking for additional moves to make that happen.
What does this mean for the rest of the shortstop market
Correa, Seager and Story (and, to a much lesser extent, Javier Báez) were always going to get paid. But what if Semien is able to close a seven-year deal like this? His other shortstop contract predictions might be worth revisiting.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.