The Toronto Blue Jays are in the midst of an intense playoff push.
The team is refusing to die in the American League Wild Card race.
At this very moment, the Jays are just a half-game back of the New York Yankees for the final playoff spot in the AL.
One MLB playoff narrative I think doesn’t get enough love: The Blue Jays have won 8 straight games and are only a half game back of the Yankees for the second AL wildcard spot. The Jays play 7 games against the O’s and 7 games against the Twins (last in ALC) with 23 games to go
— Chris Bibona (@chrisbibona) September 10, 2021
Toronto is a legit contender, and there’s a multitude of reasons as to why.
Among those reasons, you’ve got superstar infielder Marcus Semien.
The 2021 campaign is Semien’s first with the Blue Jays, and let’s just say this: It’s working out exceptionally well.
There’s no telling where Toronto would be without him this season.
Let’s talk about his impact.
Semien Is Having An MVP-Caliber Season
When the Jays signed Semien, they likely knew it was going to be a hit-or-miss deal.
Throughout his career, the 30-year-old has had some fantastic seasons and some underwhelming seasons.
Toronto didn’t know for sure what it was going to get.
But that question has been answered in a big way.
Semien has been one of the best players in baseball all year long, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
He’s slashing .272/.342/.547 on the season to complement a 136 OPS+ and 137 wRC+.
He has blasted 38 home runs, 35 doubles, and two triples.
MARCUS SEMIEN WALK-OFF HR ON HIS FORMER TEAM 🤯 @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 4, 2021
He also has an absurd 6.4 WAR, a figure that will almost certainly get him some MVP votes.
This guy has been crushing the ball all year long, and it’s hard to imagine a way that this deal could have unfolded any better for both sides.
If The Jays Make The Playoffs, They’ll Get To Put Semien’s Outstanding Postseason Track Record To The Test
Toronto would love nothing more than to make the playoffs in 2021.
The team is way ahead of schedule in its rebuild, and making the postseason this year would be a massive accomplishment.
If it happens, Jays fans will have the fortunate of rooting for Semien in the playoffs.
This guy is a machine in the postseason.
Although the sample size is on the smaller side, Semien is a career .371 hitter in the playoffs with a 1.021 OPS.
Even more ridiculous: Over his last five postseason games, he’s batting .526 with a 1.346 OPS, a home run, and a double.
Some players love big moments, and it seems like Semien might be one of those players.
With any luck, that theory will be put to the test next month.
Keeping Semien Around Beyond 2021 Might Be A Challenge
Semien will likely be on the receiving end of a big payday in the near future.
This is his second MVP-caliber season in the last three years, and he’s likely going to get some big-time offers this offseason.
If the Blue Jays make it a priority, they’ll have a chance at retaining him, but according to a report, they haven’t had any luck so far.
“According to sources, they’ve attempted to sign Semien to an extension, without success to this point, and plan to approach [Robbie] Ray about a new deal this offseason,” wrote Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
It could be a tall task for the team to hold onto both Ray and Semien.
Toronto might have to pick and choose its battles, and that sounds like a very difficult decision to make.
However, for right now, the club is focused on its playoff race.
Offseason tasks can wait until the offseason.NEXT: Blue Jays Lefty Robbie Ray Likely Has A Big Payday In His Future