Semien’s bonus value
When the news broke that Semien was signing in Toronto, one of the first things I did was check to see if the A’s had given him a qualifying offer. Nope. Which means the Blue Jays didn’t have to surrender a draft pick to sign him.
To make things even better, there’s a way they could extract more value out of Semien than just what he brings to the field this year.
If the 2021 season doesn’t go the way the Blue Jays are hoping, it would be a no-brainer to put the California native on the trade block in July, and you might just get another couple of prospects to add to the treasure troves. That’s obviously not something to hope for, but it’s a consolation prize if the Blue Jays fall out of the race.
Assuming they hang on to the 30-year-old and compete for a playoff spot, he could actually be eligible for a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays at the end of the year. He’ll need to perform closer to his 2019 numbers to justify a salary average among the top 125 earners in the game, but it’s entirely possible that happens.
Because he’d have spent the entire year in Toronto in this scenario, he’d pass that checkpoint for the QO (A team can’t offer it if you’ve been traded during the season). The other requirement is that he hasn’t received it before, and we have the A’s to thank for that.
Really, there are two best case scenarios here. One sees things go so well that Semien and the Blue Jays want to sign an extension after the year. In a second, Semien plays well enough to earn the QO, signs elsewhere after the season, and then the Blue Jays hand the job to Martin/Groshans while collecting another pick.
They’ve faced a lot of criticism over the years (including from yours truly), but you’ve gotta hand it to Atkins and his staff on this one.