The Texas Rangers, eager to begin a new era of relevancy in the American League West division, secured their first star signing of the offseason.
Middle infielder Marcus Semien, who played last season with the Toronto Blue Jays, agreed to a seven-year, $175 million contract with the Rangers on Sunday.
Signing one of the five star shortstops on the market – with the others being Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, and Javier Baez – Texas gains a star on both offense and defense, and make it clear that they don’t want to occupy last place in the division again.
And they may not be done yet: they are kicking the tires on Seager and remain in the hunt for more starting pitching.
FanSided’s Robert Murray was the first to report that Texas and Semien were close to a deal, while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman offered details about the contract length and the done deal.
BREAKING: Free-agent infielder Marcus Semien is close to a deal with the Texas Rangers, according to sources familiar with the situation.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) November 28, 2021
Semien will not get any opt-out clauses or no-trade protection in the pact.
An Offensive And Defensive Asset
Seven years for a 31-year-old middle infielder seems like a long commitment, but he has proven he is an asset with the glove at both shortstop and second base, and is athletic enough to remain effective as a fielder for at least three or four more years, perhaps more.
It was the price to pay for Texas to lure a star to their up-and-coming project.
I’m a HUGE Marcus Semien fan. All Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger at 25 Mil per year ain’t bad at all.
— Bars📈 (@BarsTalks) November 29, 2021
Far from declining, Semien had one of the finest seasons of his career in 2021 with Toronto.
He slashed .265/.334/.538 and hit 45 homers, with 115 runs scored, 102 RBI, and 15 stolen bases.
He was a prime MVP candidate, and won Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards.
He played all 162 games in 2021, and was a key cog in one of the best lineups in baseball.
Semien’s domination wasn’t just a 2021 thing, either.
Per FanGraphs, he led baseball in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) from 2019 to this point, with 15.4.
If the Rangers don’t sign another shortstop, they could opt to keep Semien at second and keep Isiah Kiner-Falefa at the infield’s most important position.
Bringing More Power Into The Mix
Between Semien and Calhoun, the Rangers lineup receives a sizable injection of power.
Semien is capable of hitting 45 bombs, and Calhoun, if healthy, could conceivably reach 30.
Gray provides a much-needed jolt for the rotation, but besides Dane Dunning, there isn’t much to talk about there.
That’s why Texas is widely expected to make more moves, potentially before the expected lockout date of December 1.
After consecutive World Series in 2010 and 2011 and AL West division titles in both 2015 and 2016, the Rangers have fallen off the map entirely in recent seasons.
However, they are determined to compete again, and their intentions were on display this weekend after the three major signings.
Semien, in particular, has the potential to lead the franchise back into contention if they play their cards right.