Blue Jays: Marcus Semien punishes his former team in key win
Last night’s game against the Oakland Athletics featured a ton of drama for the Blue Jays.
Two A’s players got hit by starting pitcher Alek Manoah with Starling Marte being forced to leave the game, the Jays came back down 8 to 2 to put up six runs in the eighth and tie the game, led by a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. grand slam. Jordan Romano would enter the ninth and gave up a two-run shot to put the Athletics ahead but would eventually walk away victorious when Marcus Semien crushed a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning, securing an 11-10 Blue Jays win.
Wow. Just wow.
This game had a little bit of everything and with the Blue Jays facing a team that stands in their way in the AL Wild Card standings, it is safe to say that this contest was a must-win for the club. The outlook looked bleak when Manoah gave up six earned runs through 5.0 innings but the offense found a way to storm back and battle twice in the same night. The Blue Jays are now five games back of a Wild Card spot while the Athletics are three games back of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
The game last night against Oakland had a little bit of everything for the Blue Jays, with Marcus Semien eventually walking it off against his former club.
The club got contributions from almost everyone in the batting order, and while Gurriel may have had the most RBI on the scoreboard, it was Marcus Semien who secured the victory when the Blue Jays had to come back for a second time in the game, his only hit in the game.
Credit where it is due, as Breyvic Valera and George Springer were able to get on base prior to Semien stepping to the plate but in a night where a few different members of the pitching staff struggled on the mound, it was nice to see the club capitalize with runners in scoring position.
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What makes this story even sweeter is the man who won the game, in that Semien was not only a member of the Oakland Athletics last season, but the club decided to not even tender him a qualifying offer and let him walk away scot-free.
Mind you, his 2020 season was a step behind his 2019 MVP caliber campaign but the man has proven to be an absolute steal for the Blue Jays this season. Semien is currently slashing .266/.333/.529 with 34 home runs (career-best), 81 RBI, and a .862 OPS while appearing in 133 games for the club. He boasts a 5.8 bWAR which is currently second-best amongst qualified position players and leads all second baseman across the league in home runs and slugging while being second in RBI, OPS, and doubles (34).
Whether the A’s didn’t offer him a QO due to concerns of play or monetary reasons (small market team), there is no guarantee that Semien would have accepted the deal. Considering he signed for $18 million with the Jays and the QO was set at $18.9 million, I feel like he would’ve taken the deal to rebuild his stock, but even if he rejected it, the Athletics would have received draft pick compensation when he signed elsewhere or one of his best statistical seasons to date if he had accepted. It should be noted that the team has not offered any player a QO before in their club’s history.
Regardless, the past decision-making of the A’s has been glorious for the Blue Jays, as Semien has provided stability at second base and produced a fantastic season that has fans already calling for the front office to sign him to a long-term deal.
While the price for his services will 100% be more than the $18 million he received this year, I would think the Blue Jays will be at least offering him a qualifying offer of their own if he chooses to test free-agent waters, receiving compensation if he signs elsewhere.
Even if the Blue Jays only have Semien for one season, it is safe to say that he has won over a lot of fans with his play and his ability to gel with the club and produce when needed. The Jays needed this win badly and while it was not smooth by any means, Semien secured the deal and this game will go down in history as one of the top comebacks in recent memory.