Great season with Blue Jays helps Semien strike mega deal with Rangers

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When Marcus Semien signed a one-year, US $ 18 million contract with the Blue Jays last January, it was a two-tiered gamble.

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First, the MVP-caliber infielder was betting on himself, confident that a huge free agent contract would be available if he returned to the form he felt was in his abilities.

The long-term part in the betting from the start was the Jays, who would benefit immensely from his game on the pitch in 2021, but always knew it would be difficult to re-sign Semien.

The bet paid off on Sunday when several reports revealed that the 31-year-old had agreed to the terms of a seven-year, US $ 175 million contract with the Texas Rangers.

As the second baseman’s departure leaves a gaping hole in the Jays’ infield, his absence will also be felt at the Toronto clubhouse. Semien has had a profound influence on the continued growth and development of young Jays stars such as Bo Bichette and Vlad Guerrero Jr.

In fact, during her end-of-season press availability, Bichette was stifled by discussion of the mentoring influence of Semien, who made 45 home runs in 2021 and finished third in the American League MVP vote.

Semien was a workaholic with the Jays, appearing in all 162 games, driving 102 points and finishing as one of four Toronto players to be named to the All-Star Game in Denver.

However, there were several signs that it was going to be difficult to restrain Semien, especially when it became clear that there would be multiple suitors for his services.

When the Jays were forced to open the season with Dunedin’s TD Ballpark, Semien was the team’s most vocal player to voice his displeasure at the ridiculous situation caused by COVID-19 restrictions in Canada. And then, during his own end-of-season availability, Semien made it clear that he sees himself as a shortstop, a position that was – and likely will remain – the domain of Bichette.

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Shortly after the season ended, Semien announced that he had retained the services of super-agent Scott Boras, setting the stage for a high-stakes auction.

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It’s unclear how serious the Jays were in the offer for Semien, but once the money hits over $ 150 million, we believe GM Ross Atkins and Team President Ross Atkins began to feel nauseous. Considering that Bichette, Guerrero and others will need huge deals in the not-so-distant future, perhaps $ 175 million seemed out of reach.

From Semien’s perspective, going to Texas where there is no state income tax makes the contract an even bigger bargain.

In a recent interview with the MLB Network, Atkins may have hinted at where the negotiations are heading when he said he’s confident Cavan Biggio can handle most of the workload on second base.

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The Semien deal could be the trigger for a free agent frenzy before Wednesday, when the current ACA expires and a lockout is widely expected.

The Jays surged in buying over the weekend when they agreed to terms with right-hander Yimi Garcia for a two-year US $ 11 million contract. Garcia, most recently with the Houston Astros, could be a solid addition of depth to the bullpen.

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