The Texas Rangers are having a massive offseason.
The lockout is upon us, and some teams are feeling like they didn’t do enough to improve their rosters before the lockout hit.
That definitely can’t be said about the Rangers.
Obviously, anytime you add two superstars in one offseason, it’s an exciting time.
The Rangers lost 102 games in the 2021 season, but in due time, they’ll almost certainly find themselves back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
It won’t be long before Semien and Seager become the faces of the organization.
But which player will be the Rangers’ biggest star?
Let’s take a look at each player’s track record and try to figure it out.
The Case For Semien
Semien is coming off of a phenomenal 2021 season in which he finished third in the AL MVP race.
It was the 31-year-old’s first (and only) season with the Toronto Blue Jays, and he did everything in his power to get that team to the playoffs.
Toronto’s postseason push ultimately fell short, but it had nothing to do with Semien.
He posted an OPS of .873, OPS+ of 133, and bWAR of 7.3.
He smacked 45 home runs, 39 doubles, and two triples along the way.
MARCUS SEMIEN’S TWO-RUN BOMB TIES THE GAME IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 10TH! ⚾️💣
— theScore (@theScore) May 24, 2021
Runs batted in don’t carry much weight these days, but he racked up 102 of those in 2021 for what it’s worth.
As a result of his stellar production at the plate, he earned his first career Silver Slugger Award.
Semien added a lot of value defensively, too.
He registered 12 Defensive Runs Saved and had a defensive bWAR of 1.8 en route to Gold Glove honors.
Setting a Gold standard 🏆
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) November 8, 2021
As memorable as Semien’s 2021 campaign was, he had a very similar season in 2019.
That year, he also finished third in the AL MVP race due in large part to his 8.4 bWAR.
He slashed .285/.369/.522 with a 139 OPS+, 33 home runs, 43 doubles, and seven triples.
He was great defensively that year, too, with 11 Defensive Runs Saved and a defensive bWAR of 1.8.
In both the 2019 and 2021 campaigns, he appeared in all 162 regular-season games.
It’s worth noting that Semien’s outstanding 2019 and 2021 seasons were sandwiched between an ugly showing for him in 2020, but the pandemic-shortened season impacted all players differently.
It’s probably safe to call his 2020 campaign an outlier.
The Case For Seager
Seager seems like the more obvious choice given the size of the deal he signed with the Rangers.
He signed a 10-year deal worth $325 million, and Semien signed a seven-year deal worth $175 million.
But that likely had a lot to do with Seager’s age (27) compared to Semien’s (31).
There’s a legit debate to be had about which player will emerge as Texas’ biggest star over the next few years.
Let’s take a look at Seager’s track record.
When healthy, he was impressive in 2021, as he batted .306 with a .915 OPS and 145 OPS+.
Career home run No.1⃣0⃣0⃣ for Seager. 👏 pic.twitter.com/wtY4oxh98H
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) September 26, 2021
Unfortunately, he was limited to just 95 games due to injury.
That has been a frustrating theme for the two-time All-Star at certain points throughout his career.
Since the start of the 2018 campaign, he has eclipsed the 100-game mark just one time.
Of course, it’s not fair to hold the pandemic-shortened season in 2020 against him, but regardless, his availability has definitely been an issue in recent years.
That’s probably the only thing preventing Seager from being a perennial MVP candidate.
When he’s on the field, his production is outstanding.
He’s a career .297 hitter with an OPS of .870 and OPS+ of 131.
Moreover, for his career, he averages a bWAR of 5.1 per 650 plate appearances, which is a great indication of how elite he can be over the course of a full year.
But only three times have we seen him play in more than 100 games in a season.
We’ll have to wait and see if he can stay healthy during his stint with the Rangers.
The Verdict: If Seager Can Stay On The Field, He’ll Be Texas’ Biggest Star
In Semien, you have a player who has missed a total of 10 games since the start of the 2018 season.
In Seager, you have a player who has missed 240 games over that same span.
Seager probably has the edge over Semien when it comes to talent, but it’s impossible to add value when you’re on the shelf.
That’ll be the key for the former Los Angeles Dodgers superstar going forward.