Marcus Semien has changed his representation just before he hits free agency, as the infielder is now a client of The Boras Corporation, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Semien joins a prominent list of Scott Boras clients on the open market this winter, including Max Scherzer, Kris Bryant, Nick Castellanos, Carlos Rodon, and another big-name shortstop in Corey Seager.
It remains to be seen if Semien will play shortstop, second base, or perhaps a bit of both following his year as the keystone for the Blue Jays, though needless to say, he’ll have plenty of options available after an outstanding 2021 campaign. Semien hit .265/.334/.538 with 45 home runs over a league-high 724 plate appearances, setting a new MLB single-season record for most home runs hit by a second baseman.
After breaking out with a superstar-level year in 2019, Semien didn’t hit well over the first six weeks of the abbreviated 2020 season, leaving him with only a .223/.305/.374 slash line in 236 PA. That proved detrimental to Semien’s market in his first trip through the free agent market last winter, and he chose to bet on himself by signing a one-year, $18MM deal with Toronto, in order to better position himself for a better long-term contract this offseason.
That strategy ended up working like a charm for Semien, and he has lined himself up for a healthy nine-figure deal this time around. Even in a market loaded with top-tier shortstops, Semien is still projected to land one of the top contracts of any free agent in the 2021-22 class. Semien is entering his age-31 season, but a guarantee of five or perhaps even six years seems feasible, considering how incredibly durable Semien has been throughout his career.
For Toronto fans worried that the agency change will make a return to the Jays less likely, it should be noted that the Blue Jays signed another major Boras client in Hyun Jin Ryu just two years ago. Negotiating with Boras shouldn’t necessarily change the equation too much for the Jays, as the club already knew that re-signing Semien would come with a hefty price tag. Team president Mark Shapiro recently said the Jays had interest in retaining all three of their top free agents (Semien, Robbie Ray, Steven Matz), and some more money is expected to become available in the form of a payroll increase.