Marcus Semien enjoyed a career-year in just about every way imaginable this past season. The Cal product had a dream season in every sense of the word for the A's.
But how long will the Bay Area native's tenure last in Oakland? History suggests Semien's time with the A's could be running out, which makes longtime baseball writer Peter Gammons believe the star shortstop might be on the move in the near future.
"David Forst and Billy Beane love this A's team ... they especially love Semien, who's the leader of this team," Gammons said Wednesday on MLB Network. "He's a local guy, he was born in Berkeley right down the road. But, we still don't know what's gonna happen with the ballpark.
"It's fine to say eventually we're gonna get it, but by the time they actually get the ballpark opened, Marcus is gonna be old enough to run for president, so he might not be interested in staying in Oakland."
Harsh but possibly true. The A's are, however, a step closer to getting a new stadium built in Oakland. On Nov. 13, the Oakland City Council directed the City Attorney to immediately drop Oakland's lawsuit against Alameda County, paving the way for the sale of the Coliseum.
"We are pleased that the Oakland City Council has directed the City Attorney to immediately drop this lawsuit," A's President Dave Kaval said in a team statement. "We are committed to the long-term success of East Oakland and the Coliseum site. We look forward to finalizing our agreement with Alameda County, and creating a mutually beneficial partnership with the City of Oakland."
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred previously had warned Oakland officials in October to drop the lawsuit for fear of losing the team to relocation.
The A's plan to open a waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square for the 2023 season. Semien would be 32 years old by then, and certainly could still be putting up huge numbers.
This past season, Semien played in all 162 games and had career-highs across the board. He hit .285 with 33 homers, finished third in AL MVP voting and was worth 8.1 bWAR. While Semien's breakout year at the plate was huge, his improvement on defense was even more incremental. Semien used to be a detriment to the A's at shortstop, but he was a Gold Glove finalist last season.
"Somewhere along the line, he's gonna be a fascinating person either for the future of the A's or for somebody else in the future," Gammons said.
Semien is expected to earn nearly $14 million in arbitration this offseason and becomes a free agent after next season. Signing Semien to a long-term contract would energize the fan base and help the product on the field. As we've seen many times in the past, however, it's not that easy with the A's.
“That’s a first-world problem when your shortstop is pricing himself out of your market,” Beane told NBC Sports California in September.
The ball's in your court, Billy. The A's will have to pay up for Semien's services in the near future or once again face the disappointment of their fans.