Replacing Semien with Espinal
On the same day Toronto signed Gausman, Semien signed a mega-deal with the suddenly cash-crazy Texas Rangers.
If the terms of the deal didn’t help lighten the blow for Jays’ fans, his play this season certainly should. After committing seven years and $175 million for the veteran, the Rangers haven’t gotten a great return on their investment so far. Semien is hitting just .194 and hit his first home run of the season on Saturday night.
Semien was an MVP finalist last season and earned his huge payday. However, he’s played barely above replacement level (0.2) and has been a disappointment for the Rangers so far.
Many observers figured the Blue Jays would at least sign a veteran middle infielder to compete with incumbents Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio. Instead, they traded for another high-level infielder, third baseman Matt Chapman, and left second base as an open competition.
Espinal showed up to camp looking noticeably stronger and with a goal to drive the ball harder than he had previously shown. Even his strongest supporters have to be pleasantly surprised with his play this season. Espinal is hitting .264 with a team-leading 13 doubles.
Espinal took what was supposed to be a platoon situation at second base and turned it into a monopoly. Biggio didn’t get off to a great start, got put on the COVID-19 IL and spent some time in Triple-A Buffalo. That stint seems to have served him well and Biggio re-joined the team for the series in Anaheim against the Angels and played pretty well. Still, Espinal has a pretty firm grip on the job at second base these days.