Marcus Semien had a sensational season in 2019 for the A’s. He finished his campaign leading the league with 747 plate appearances while starting in all 162 games -- a personal career goal of his.
He also finished third in AL MVP voting after slashing a .285/.369/.522 line, which was good enough for an .892 OPS. He also hit a franchise-record 31 home runs from the leadoff position. Those are terrific numbers, but where does that leave his future with the A’s?
Semien is scheduled to become a free agent in 2021 after five seasons with Oakland. That means regardless of whether or not we have a baseball season, it will still count as his contract year. The Bay Area native has made it clear he wants to stay with Oakland for the long haul.
“Of course, that would be ideal," Semien told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil back in December.
However, there is no guarantee he will be able to do so.
For starters, the A’s historically do not make it rain on players no matter how much they’re worth on the open market. The last time the A’s dug the deep in their pockets was a six-year, $66 million contract extension in 2004 for third baseman Eric Chavez. That was the biggest deal in franchise history, and still is to this day.
Secondly, there also the factor that we currently are living in the middle of a global pandemic, which has created more questions than we could ever imagine about what the future might hold.
But the team is moving toward a direction of promise.
The A’s settled on a $13 million contract with Semien for the 2020 season. That’s half a million less than MLB Trade Rumors predicted back in October. This was not too long after the A’s signed designated hitter Khris Davis to a two-year, $33.5 million extension as well. Manager Bob Melvin even said it could create some momentum toward the A's future signings with fewer commitment issues.
These are both considered stepping stones for the A’s, but regardless, fans need to be prepared to bid farewell as difficult as the task may be.
Semien will blow out 30 candles on his next birthday cake in September, which is always considered a worry heading into free agency. (Not for me, but for the sports world).
MLB Trade Rumors has Semien listed as one of their most coveted free agents after the 2020 season, and rightfully so. Semien's numbers speak for themselves, and it would be a wonderful storyline complete with warm fuzzies to have the Cal grad stay where his roots are.
However, some still consider him overrated -- as he's truly just had one breakout year -- which could benefit the A’s in making him a deal. But that deal will still cost a pretty penny if he wants to retire in green and gold.
It would be an almost impossible task to replace him in Oakland, but there will be younger free agents in the form of Didi Gregorius and even Jose Iglesias or Andrelton Simmons, if Semien chooses to leave.
If the A's look internally, younger prospects like Nick Allen and Logan Davidson could make an impact down the road, but it wouldn’t be immediate. The two have yet to even have a cup of coffee in Double-A.
Meanwhile, Semien's free agency still looms as we wait to find out if and when there will be a 2020 baseball season.