Free agent shortstop Corey Seager could be nearing his next contract, as The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports that there is a “belief” that Seager will sign on Monday. Seager was known to be leaning towards finding a new team before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on December 1, and interestingly, that same report indicated the same about another prominent Scott Boras client in Marcus Semien.
Just earlier today, Semien indeed did sign, inking a seven-year, $175MM agreement with the Rangers. Seager had also engaged in some talks with the Rangers, and both Sherman and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal feel there is a distinct chance Seager may still land in Texas. Presumably, Seager and Semien would work as the Rangers’ new middle infield combination, though it would remain to be seen exactly where either of the duo would line up.
Seager has spent virtually all of his career at shortstop but his defensive numbers aren’t great, and there is a perception that Seager might be within a few years of moving to third base or perhaps even second base. Semien, meanwhile, is the better defensive shortstop of the two, though Semien spent 2021 playing as a second baseman with the Blue Jays while Bo Bichette manned the shortstop position. Texas also has some incumbents to consider, as top third base prospect Josh Jung is ready for his MLB debut, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa is an excellent defender at either shortstop or third base.
The fact that the Rangers can now even weigh all of these possibilities is indicative of the new doors opened by the team’s willingness to spend big this winter, as the Rangers are making a sharp turn towards contention after five straight losing seasons. Texas has already signed Semien, Jon Gray, and Kole Calhoun within the last 12 hours, so adding Seager would be just the latest addition to what has already been a frenzy of activity for president of baseball operations Jon Daniels.
Trevor Story is another one of the major free agent shortstops who had been linked to the Rangers, and Rosenthal seems to frame Story as something of a backup plan, noting that Story is “also possible if Rangers cannot get Seager.” The fact that Boras represents both Semien and Seager could make coordinating such a double-signing easier, though it isn’t as if Daniels and company have never had dealings with Story’s reps at Excel (Kolby Allard is an Excel client on the Texas roster, for instance).
While Boras has a reputation for waiting until deep into the offseason to find acceptable contracts for his free agent clients, Sherman notes that at the GM Meetings in early November, teams felt Boras would have deals lined up for Seager, Semien, and Max Scherzer before December 1 and what is expected to be a management lockout following the CBA’s expiration. Beyond Semien’s deal, Scherzer also seems to be nearing an agreement with the Mets, which perhaps increases the chances that Seager will also get his contract done in short order.
Beyond the Rangers, the Tigers, Dodgers, and Yankees are other teams who have been linked to Seager’s market, though New York is reportedly planning to wait until after the lockout and subsequent transactions freeze to pursue a shortstop, as the club would prefer a shorter-term commitment. If Scherzer does sign with the Mets, it could spur the Dodgers to make a bigger push for Seager so as to not lose both of their biggest in-house free agents. Semien’s departure from the market could also spur any of the teams also looking for shortstop or general infield help (such as the Phillies, Blue Jays, or Angels) to look closer at Seager.