How do you replace Semien if he leaves?
There are so many different ways the Blue Jays’ offseason could work out, and it’s hard to wrap your head around how one move will set off dominoes in other directions. One of the most significant will be the status of Marcus Semien.
While I’m confident that the Blue Jays will make some sort of effort to retain their star second baseman, it wouldn’t shock me if they were outbid by another team in need of a premium middle infielder. It’s a deep market of star shortstops, but it sounds like the list of interested teams will be much longer, and Semien will be highly coveted.
My knee-jerk reaction to the idea of Semien leaving is to think about the trade market. That could produce potential All-Star level options like Jose Ramirez in Cleveland, Matt Chapman from the A’s, or maybe even Ketel Marte from the Diamondbacks if the Blue Jays are really preparing to pay big. The flexibility of both Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal means the Jays can look at both second and third baseman if they need to find a replacement for Semien.
However, why not look at another shortstop? And if they are prepared to pay big to keep Semien, would they pay a little bit less for a younger but comparable player like Trevor Story?
The more I look at this year’s crop of free agent infielders, the more I feel like Story is a bit of a forgotten man in terms of the top of the market. That’s somewhat understandable when you consider that Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, and Semien are also free agents, but there’s no reason to undersell what the 29 year old has done as a big leaguer. Yes, his numbers are inflated a bit because he’s played his home games at Coors Field as a member of the Colorado Rockies, but he’s still a premium hitter.
MLBTR has Story slated to receive a contract of six years and 126 million, while they’ve predicted six years and 138 million for Semien. The difference is an AAV of 21 million for Story vs. 23 million for Semien, but again, there’s a two-year age gap in favour of Story here.
For what it’s worth, I don’t know that I see the Blue Jays getting into the market for Story unless they really see an opportunity that they like. That said, I can’t help but wonder if that opportunity is about to present itself this offseason, and I’m very curious if they’re even considering it as an option. Depending on how things shake out this winter, Story could end up being the best “value” over the life of the next contracts for this year’s free agent crop.