Marcus Semien says adios to the A’s; Signs one yr $18M deal with Jays

Oakland A’s shortstop Marcus Semien signed a one year deal worth $18 million with the Toronto Blue Jays leaving the A’s after six years on Tue Jan 26, 2021. Ironically Semien will not play in the city of Toronto proper as all Blue Jays home games will be played in Florida (USA Today file photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The Oakland A’s brain trust now has the unenviable task of replacing star shortstop Marcus Semien. Semien, who had been with the A’s for six years, signed a one-year deal worth $18 million with the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday.

Semien was the third player the A’s have lost to free agency this season. The A’s lost one of the best closers in all of baseball, Liam Hendriks, to the Chicago White Sox. Robby Grossman, who was in left field, headed to Detroit.

Semien’s departure continues a pattern that has haunted the A’s for many, many years. Because of financial considerations, the A’s cannot afford to pay players that have become stars. A’s president, Billy Beane, and General Manager David Forst have become adept at finding value in players discarded by other teams or finding and developing prospects from their farm system.

The A’s traded for Semien after the 2014 season. They sent pitcher Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox for Semien. Semien was a second baseman there. The A’s wanted him to move to shortstop. His first season at that position did not go well.

He made both fielding and throwing errors. The following season the A’s hired Ron Washington as a consultant to work with him. Washington had been a coach with the A’s and was credited with helping Eric Chavez win six Gold Gloves.

Washington and Semien worked for hours pre-game on his fielding and throwing. Fans could see Semien improve daily. Semien had other skills that helped the A’s win. He could hit and hit with power.

Semien was fleet of foot. The A’s missed the playoffs in 2016 and 2017. They made them in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The A’s were hoping to make it to the World Series this year. Their last appearance in the Fall Classic was in 1990.

Since then, the A’s failed to advance out of the first round with two exceptions. They advanced to the AL Championship round in 2006. The Detroit Tigers sent them home. They made it past the Wildcard round beating the Chicago White Sox. The Houston Astros beat them to advance to the AL Championship round in 2020.

Semien’s best year with the A’s was in 2019. He hit .285 with 33 homers and 93 RBIs. He finished third in the voting for Most Valuable Player.

A’s fans will be sorry to see him leave. They will wish Semien well in Toronto. Hopefully, the A’s will find capable replacements. The fans are hungry for a Championship team. It’s been a long drought.

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