With days to go until finally the collective bargaining arrangement expires, the first domino has fallen on the crowded, proficient shortstop current market. But it is not Carlos Correa or Corey Seager: It’s Marcus Semien, who has reportedly signed a seven-calendar year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers. It’s a blockbuster deal for a club that hopes to start out contending before long. It’s also a bigger-than-envisioned range for Semien—which may possibly hint at what the other major shortstops on the market will be obtaining. Here’s the breakdown of how it issues close to the video game:
What This Usually means for Semien
The infielder is a notable talent who was all but confirmed to acquire a significant agreement. But the figures that arrived out on Sunday exceeded what experienced been even the most optimistic estimates for Semien.
FanGraphs had projected that he would acquire 4 years and $120 million. The New York Put up had 5 several years and $140 million The Athletic experienced 5 a long time and $148 million, and MLB Trade Rumors experienced 6 decades and $138 million. Observe that none of individuals integrated a seventh yr or touched $150 million—let on your own $175 million.
So how did Semien finish up landing a offer like this? A good put to start out is the point that he sales opportunities all placement gamers in Baseball-Reference WAR considering the fact that the commence of 2019. (His 15.9 WAR exceeds Mookie Betts’ 15. and Juan Soto’s 14.5.) He’s the only player in possibly league who has been an MVP finalist twice in the last three seasons. He presents both power and pace, as the only player in the previous three seasons to hit 85 or a lot more household operates with 20 or extra stolen bases, and he’s also notably long lasting: Semien has manufactured just just one trip to the IL considering that debuting in the majors in 2013. (He played all 162 frequent-year video games in both equally 2019 and 2021.) Although he’s traditionally been a shortstop, he confirmed this earlier 12 months just how capably he can tackle second base, where he received his initially Gold Glove. The takeaway here is as great as all of the higher than would recommend: Semien is a top quality all-about participant who’s been a person of the pretty best in the game around the past couple decades.
Nonetheless there are a few details that slip him behind a identify like Correa or Seager. The clearest is his age: At 31, he’s the oldest of the quality shortstops available this wintertime, all of whom are less than 30. That seemed to make him much more likely to indication a 4- or 5-12 months deal than something extended and, thus, created him a much better match for a team that was in win-now manner. (This certainly didn’t happen! But extra on the Rangers’ commitment down below.) The other lingering query was connected to his historical past. Sure, Semien has appeared like a star considering that 2019. But he had appeared only like a solid day to day participant in each and every year prior to that. That is not a negative matter to be, of class, and Semien was remarkably constant at it: He posted an OPS+ in between 95 and 99 in each individual of his very first 4 complete main-league seasons. But it does indicate that his extended-time period keep track of history is not as set up as some other users of this class—even if you are inclined to believe that that he’ll adhere with his modern concentrations of generation, this is still a element to notice, significantly with his age.
Which all arrives down to a base line a thing like this: Semien has shown that he can enjoy at the highest amount, and he’s found a team that was keen to wager large on him doing the exact going ahead, for extended than any one experienced guessed.
What This Usually means for the Rangers
To start with, the apparent: This is pretty, incredibly great for Texas! Semien is an outstanding player, as in-depth over, and this makes the Rangers considerably improved than they were being yesterday. It addresses a critical location of need—shortstop was an obvious hole for them to fill—and it pushes them nearer to getting a successful team.
But there are still legitimate questions about the match right here. Semien produced lots of sense for a team that was now playoff-prepared: Texas is not that. (Except if there are some more large moves coming—which it does audio like there may be.) The Rangers are five several years eliminated from their last winning year, and though they’ve started out to place the parts together to pull out of their rebuild, they never appear like a contender very still. That can make Semien a considerably curious choice—but it doesn’t make him a undesirable a person, and they’ve now started generating complementary moves to make it a considerably much better fit.
Moreover a shortstop, Texas necessary setting up pitching and some outfield help. The team begun addressing each groups virtually ideal away: The Rangers are reportedly now in settlement with former Rockies pitcher Jon Gray for four many years and $56 million and also with outfielder Kole Calhoun. With Gray, they’re taking a gamble on unlocking the upside from a pitcher who has traditionally been an up-and-down mid-rotation arm. (Just liberating him from Coors Discipline must assistance.) With Calhoun, they’re finding some perhaps beneficial depth. These moves don’t always make a winning team—at the very least, not by by themselves, and not right absent. (Remember: The Rangers are not so a great deal knocking on the door proper now as they are still going for walks up the front steps in sight of the door.) But they support lay the foundation. And they would make even extra perception when paired with an even more substantial, splashier signing—like, say, one more premium shortstop?
Yes, we know, you’re examining about how they just signed a big offer for shortstop Marcus Semien. But Semien can participate in second—he’s in all probability a far better extensive-expression match there than he is at short—and he’s reportedly interested in sticking at the keystone if he has to accommodate another shortstop. That would let the Rangers to insert another person like Trevor Tale, which is the type of deal that could aid catapult them into rivalry sooner than these moves would on your own. And they could possibly use an additional outfielder, far too, while they’re at it. Would that be a large amount for a person offseason? Of system. But presented how a lot ground Texas has to cover just to get to .500—this team missing 102 video games in 2021!—it can make far far more sense to think of these moves as a commencing alternatively than an ending. To signal Semien and Gray is an sign that the Rangers would like to start successful quicker relatively than later. It stands to purpose that they should continue to keep pursuing extra moves to make that materialize.
What This Usually means for the Rest of the Shortstop Industry
Correa, Seager and Story (and, to a considerably lesser extent, Javier Báez) ended up constantly likely to get paid. But if Semien is in a position to pull down a seven-yr offer like this? It might be worth revising your other shortstop contract predictions upwards.
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