How do you replace Marcus Semien?
The news of Kevin Gausman signing with the Blue Jays came at a great time because it helped soften the blow of Marcus Semien leaving for Texas. The Rangers made a VERY aggressive offer to Semien for seven years and 175 million dollars, and the 31 year old wisely signed on the dotted line. Even if he loved the Blue Jays and wanted to return, it’s hard to blame him for accepting an offer like that.
Now that we’ve confirmed that Semien won’t be back in the Blue Jays lineup next year the question becomes how Atkins and company will replace him. Semien played last season at second base, and the Jays used a combination of Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal at third. They could elect to move that duo back to second and find someone to play the hot corner, or look for a new second baseman and keep things the way they were in 2021. I believe that flexibility could turn out to be important.
If the Jays find a solution for second base they could try to convince another top free agent target like Javier Baez or Trevor Story to join a franchise that’s trending in the right direction, although that doesn’t seem terribly likely, especially after Semien set the market at such a favourable rate. More likely I would think that the Jays will explore the trade market, and a player like Ketel Marte would be a dream candidate. It remains to be seen if the Diamondbacks would make the 27 year old available, but he’s a solid second baseman who can also more than capable as a centre fielder, which could have value to the Blue Jays in the future as well. He also comes with three years of contract control at a very reasonable rate, so the acquisition cost would be huge.
If the Jays prefer to look for a third baseman they could always renew their interest in Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. The 3x All-Star has two years remaining before he’ll be a free agent, and the Blue Jays are known to have asked about his availability last year at the trade deadline. If not Ramirez, the Jays could check in with a less-inspiring veteran like Kyle Seager, or if they’re looking to surprise everybody, Kris Bryant is still available as of this writing.
One way or another the Blue Jays are going to have to find a way to replace Semien. It’s probably next to impossible to find someone who can fill his shoes from this past season, but bringing in a talented player feels like a must.