The Toronto Blue Jays will have a hard time finding someone to replace Marcus Semien, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting options out there
A single-season record 45 home runs by a second baseman. More than 100 RBI, an .873 OPS, the highest WAR in the American League among position players, and Gold Glove defense. All for $18 million.
That’s what Marcus Semien gave the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021. Semien bet on himself, signing a one-year deal with the club in hopes a stellar season would allow him to cash in during free agency. It worked, and Semien’s time in Toronto is already over after he signed a seven-year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
It was brief, but Semien’s contributions to the Blue Jays will long be remembered. There was his walkoff grand slam in the miraculous comeback against Oakland in front of a raucous Rogers Centre crowd. There was the home run jacket, his mentoring of double play partner Bo Bichette, the way he moved over to second after a career spent playing shortstop without complaint.
“Marcus, man. What an incredible year. What an incredible career, really, he’s had,” General Manager Ross Atkins said on MLB Network earlier this month. “Also just fit in so well. I wish he could’ve spent more time in the city and the country. The fans across the country did fall in love with him. He didn’t get to spend as much time in Canada as we would like.”
The Blue Jays, who fell an agonizing one game short of a playoff berth in 2021, will have to try to replace Semien’s production in their lineup in order to take the next step as an organization. Atkins and the Blue Jays front office haven’t been afraid to spend money this offseason; they’ve already handed out $131 million to Jose Berrios and $110 million to Kevin Gausman. And they’re not done, as plenty of tantalizing options remain on the market for the Blue Jays to add and fill the gaping hole left by Semien’s departure.
“There’s some other interesting infielders available through trade and free agency that we’re having a lot of dialogue with,” Atkins said.
So who are there players? Here are a few who may find they way into a Blue Jays uniform in 2022 and, if not fully replicate Semien’s numbers, at least soften the blow of him leaving.