Last but not least- Semien’s a good baseball player
All of these other variables are important, but none of that matters if Semien doesn’t produce on the field. Based on his talent and recent success (mostly forgetting 2020), it’s a good bet that he’ll make the Blue Jays look pretty good here.
I don’t expect him to reach the 2019 level that we’ve already talked about, but even getting close would be a major win. Even before his 8.9 bWAR season in 2019, he posted a mark of 4.7 in 2018, and 3.5 in 2016 (he only played 85 games in 2017). Last year didn’t go well, but he also battled some injuries while staying on the field for 53 of the A’s 60 games. He was scratched from the lineup in August with a sore wrist, and that’s always a tough injury for a hitter to deal with.
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I don’t expect that the Blue Jays just signed an MVP candidate, but I also believe Semien will bounce back nicely from his 2020 numbers. If they get somewhere in between, say what he did in 2018, that’s a very solid contribution to an already dangerous group. That season the veteran slashed .255/.318/.388 with 15 home runs, 35 doubles, 70 RBI and 14 stolen bases. You’d like to see the on-base percentage come up a bit, but otherwise that’s an exciting player to add to the lineup.
There’s also the fact that Semien will more than likely play second base rather than at his normal spot at short. It’s a position he hasn’t played since 2014, but it should be less demanding after he’s made some adjustments, and maybe even gives him the potential to be a plus defender. Other than last year, he’s rated as a slightly above-average defender as a shortstop, and that could bode well with a move to second.
In all the Blue Jays are getting a player that can play on both sides of the ball, hit for average and power, and even add a bit of speed on the bases. He’s a respected veteran, a known clubhouse leader with playoff experience on his resume, and he fills an important need for the Blue Jays in a number of ways.
Now if they can go out and get a starting pitcher or two to improve the rotation, I might not be able to contain my excitement any more.