Blue Jays: Three best January free agent signings in franchise history

David Corcoran
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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2. Marcus Semien – January 30, 2021

It took until the very end of January in 2021, but the Blue Jays signed former AL-MVP finalist Marcus Semien to a one-year deal worth $18M.  Semien had spent the majority of his eight-year Major League career with the Oakland Athletics and after finishing the 2019 season with 33 home runs, 92 RBI and a slash line of .285/.369/.522 he had some struggles in the 2020 COVID-shortened season.  Semien saw his batting average drop by 62 points and his OPS slide from .892 to .679. 

The Athletics decided to move on from Semien and did not even qualify him which made him a free agent for any team to sign without having to give up any type of compensation.  Because of his drop off in 2020, Semien was not getting any lucrative offers, so Instead of seeking a longer-term deal with a smaller amount of money, he decided to bet on himself on the short-term deal with the Blue Jays. 

During his time with the Blue Jays there had been a lot of talk about the impact the veteran infielder had on the younger players in terms of preparation and professionalism he brings to the game.  On the field, Semien was an absolute superstar with the club as he again finished as a finalist for the AL-MVP, along with taking home both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards for the AL second base position.  Semien also set the Major League record for most home runs in a single season by a second baseman when he finished with 45. 

There was hope from fans that the team could bring him back on a long-term deal, but Semien signed a seven-year deal worth $175M with the Texas Rangers.  The silver lining on Semien signing elsewhere, was since the club qualified him they received a compensation pick.  The Blue Jays used that selection to take infielder Tucker Toman who is currently listed by MLB.com as the club's fourth-best prospect. 

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