The taste inside of Marcus Semien‘s mouth must be sweeter than a candy cane, because Christmas definitely came early for the Toronto Blue Jays second baseman, one of the few Black superstars in MLB.
A season after being left for dead by the Oakland A’s and accepting a position change and a one-year, $18M “show me” deal from the Toronto Blue Jays, Semien is cashing in on a seven-year, $175M deal with the Texas Rangers.
— MLB (@MLB) November 28, 2021
Semien Among Highest Paid Black Major Leaguers
The reported $25M per year salary elevates Semien into the top five highest-paid Black MLB players.
Dodgers pitcher David Price signed a seven-year, $217M contract with the Boston Red Sox back in 2015 and will collect a salary of $32 million in 2022 (between his current Dodgers team and Red Sox).
Toronto couldn’t afford to pay Semien because the franchise has already locked in outfielder George Springer, who signed a six-year, $150M contract with the club last offseason. The game’s most dynamic leadoff hitter when healthy, Springer will earn a total salary of about $29.7M in 2022.
Mookie Betts, largely considered to be the best African-American player in baseball and a top five player in the game, signed a whopping 12-year, $365M contract with L.A. in 2020. His average salary over the course of the deal is $30.4M, and he’s locked in until 2033.
When teams invest this kind of paper in a player, they are expecting a perennial All-Star. Semien is a middle infielder who flashes a Gold Glove-caliber web at the second base or shortstop position.
His booming bat speaks for itself, as the 31-year-old broke Davey Johnson’s single-season home run record for second basemen with 45 jacks this season for Canada’s MLB team.
The versatile five-tool baller also hit .265, drove in 102 runs and slugged .538. He dipped out of Toronto with a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove and a third-place finish in the AL MVP voting.
Looming Lockout Rushed Semien To Get A Deal Done
Who knows if Texas was Semien’s first choice. The ink isn’t even dry on his new contract and Semien is already catching flak on social media for choosing to join a losing club.
Dude wants money over winning.
— Bruins (@feardevious12) November 28, 2021
Reports say Semien, one of the coveted middle infielders on the free agent market, wanted to get his next contract finalized prior to the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on Dec. 1, as a lockout and transactions freeze are widely expected to follow.
The Rangers organization entered free agency with the intention of being agressive in acquiring talent that could help lift the franchise out of its current rut. Texas finished in last place in the AL West the past two seasons, including a disastrous 102-loss season in 2021.
Huge Piece In Toronto Resurgence
With Semien and Vladimir Guerrero leading the way, Toronto finished with a 91-71 record in the best division in baseball (American League East) and just missed the playoffs. The win total was the franchise’s first 90-win season since 2015.
MLBTR projected Semien for six years and $138M. But who gives a damn about their projections? Semien is a beast of a player, a quiet leader and positive clubhouse influence. More important, he seems to be a player in his prime, not on the decline.
Semien Raising The Bar For Free Agent Shortstops?
There’s a belief that Semien’s deal raises the potential contract value for younger shortstops/2B such as Carlos Correa (age 27), Corey Seager (28 in April), Trevor Story (who just turned 29) and Javier Baez (29).
That’s not neccessarily true, as Baez is coming off a terrible season with the Mets, Seager is injury prone, and Correa’s offensive inconsistency raises some question marks.
However, don’t expect Semien to be clocking the next man’s pockets. He has his work cut out helping to create a winning culture in Texas.
There’s not a more deserving player than Semien, who earned every penny with a record-breaking 2021 season that we won’t soon forget.
Semien gets the bag and the Texas Rangers can now say they have one of the league’s top 10 players — and go from there.
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