Infielder signs 7 year/$175 million contract
In what many people would probably consider the most surprising move of the offseason so far, former White Sox, Athletics and Blue Jays middle infielder Marcus Semien agreed Sunday to a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers. The two-time AL Most Valuable Player award finalist heads to Arlington after a season where he posted 6.6 fWAR and set the single-season record for home runs in a season by a second baseman (45). The deal was first reported by Robert Murray of Fansided on Twitter.
This is the best-case scenario for Semien, as he comes off a season where he played on a one year “bet on yourself” contract worth $18 million. Texas was rumored to be in the market for a major middle infielder during this offseason, and they managed to land the 31 year-old Semien on a $25 million average annual value (AAV) deal.
The Rangers add some much-needed star power to a team that has been severely lacking over the past couple of seasons. Semien will certainly aid a line-up that, since the start of 2020, ranks 28th in MLB in wRC+ (82), 28th in isolated power, ISO, (.144), 27th in home runs (229), and 29th in runs scores (849), just to pick a few stats.
In terms of what the Rangers do have, however, the current roster situation makes for an interesting conversation as to where Semien will slot in. While he still hasn’t quite found his groove at the dish, Isiah Kiner-Falefa has continued to show that he is a top-tier defender at the shortstop position. Semien has proven to be a plus defender at both shortstop and second base over the course of his career. Former top prospect Nick Solak, who got the vast majority of starts at 2B for the 2021 squad, is not a good fielder and has been unable to get going offensively at the big-league level. At this point, he seems to be the odd-man out up the middle, as IKF will likely stick around at short, with Semien slotting in at second base and in the middle of the order.
While this seems like a big move, particularly for a team that is at the Rangers’ point in its competitive cycle, GM Chris Young is apparently not done yet. Jeff Passan also reported that the Rangers are still a major player for another free agent middle infielder, Trevor Story. This would obviously be another huge move, and would likely leave Kiner-Falefa or Solak on the outside-looking-in vis a vis the future of the Rangers.
Throw in the reported signing of veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun, and the Rangers have a strong incoming offensive class to supplement the breakouts of Adolis Garcia and Nate Lowe. If the Rangers decide to add some pitching as well, they could become a force to be reckoned with in the AL West a few years down the line.