Athletics

Marcus Semien's impending free agency lingers for A's amid MLB hiatus

Marcus Semien's impending free agency lingers for A's amid MLB hiatus

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. 

[RELATED: Matt Chapman could be MVP with one small change]

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.

MLB rumors: Astros coach insulted Ramon Laureano's mom to spark brawl

MLB rumors: Astros coach insulted Ramon Laureano's mom to spark brawl

Don't you dare talk about someone's mom.

Apparently, that was the spark that set off the fiery benches-clearing brawl between the A's and Houston Astros on Sunday at the Coliseum.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, A's center fielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch from Astros reliever Humberto Castellanos. It was the third time in the series, and second time in the game, that Laureano had been plunked, so he wasn't thrilled.

When Laureano reached first base, he could be seen screaming in the direction of the Astros dugout along the first base line. His ire was directed mainly at Houston hitting coach Alex Cintron.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Something was said that caused Laureano to charge the Astros dugout and set off a brawl that surely will have severe consequences.

According to former Astros beat writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz, we now have an idea of what set Laureano off.

Sounds like this is a little more serious than a "Yo Mama" joke.

A's manager Bob Melvin was convinced someone said something offensive, and claimed Laureano wouldn't have charged the Astros dugout if nothing bad was said.

Astros manager Dusty Baker was asked after the game if Cintron made a remark to Laureano about his mother, and Baker said he wasn't sure. But he also said he understands why Latino players get upset when someone references their mother.

[RELATED: Why Laureano was tackled by Astros catcher Garneau]

With no fans in attendance at the Coliseum and TV microphones picking up just about every word uttered on the field, MLB likely will be able to find out exactly what was said between Cintron and Laureano.

Regardless of what was said, expect the league to hand down a hefty suspension for Laureano. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended eight games for throwing at Astros stars Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, which led to benches clearing between the two teams.

Dustin Garneau explains tackling Ramón Laureano during A's-Astros brawl

Dustin Garneau explains tackling Ramón Laureano during A's-Astros brawl

The A’s won 7-2 against the Houston Astros on Sunday to sweep the three-game series, but not without some drama.

The teams cleared the benches after Ramón Laureano charged at Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón for saying something to him. Laureano had just been hit by a pitch for the second time of the day and was walking toward first base.

This was the result:

Former A’s catcher Dustin Garneau could be seen on the NBC Sports California broadcast appearing to grab Laureano and tackle him down to the ground, jumping in between the A's outfielder and several Astros players and coaches including Cintron.

Garneau later told reporters it was a preventative move.

“I was trying to stop the situation before punches were thrown and things got out of hand. That's really my whole goal for that incident,” Garneau said after Sunday’s game.

Garneau, who was standing to the side of Cintrón while the verbal exchange began, said he wasn’t sure what was said between the two.

“My whole point was, he charged our dugout and I was trying to tackle him so nothing would happen and then I held him down there for whenever it was over for the same reason,” Garneau added.

[RELATED: Projection has A's nearly playoff locks]

A’s manager Bob Melvin was asked after the game what was said by Cintrón and was directed toward Laureano.

“I can't tell you that,” he said. 

Both Laureano and A’s catcher Austin Allen were ejected immediately following the scuffle. Nobody from the Astros' dugout was. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]