While folks basked in their Sunday watching football or reacting to the ridiculous of the College Football carousel, the Texas Rangers added to their roster. On Sunday, the Rangers signed infielder Marcus Semien on a seven-year deal worth $175 million. Semien spent last season with the Toronto Blue Jays and had a career season. Marcus finished third in American League MVP voting, made the All-Star team, won a silver slugger, and won a gold glove at second base. Marcus finished 2021 with 45 homers and 102 RBI, hitting .265 and an OPS of .873 (in a lineup with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.). Semien played in 162 of the Blue Jays games while playing 147 at second, 21 at shortstop, and one at designated hitter.
Is this a good deal?
Look, the Rangers needed to do something on the offensive side (that’s a given). The prices for premiere shortstops like Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, etc., will be very, very steep. Marcus Semien is a little older than the previous two mentioned, which could be a reason for the price reduction overall. Typically, the years make or break deals like this, and teams can reduce a smaller price for the years (Rangers learned this with Anthony Rendon). To get these guys, the years are going to be essential. Overall, I like the deal. Is it a deal that will work out for the Rangers? It’s simply too early to tell.
Where will Semien Play?
That is the million-dollar question (or maybe more). Marcus Semien’s 773 games with Oakland (6 seasons) came at shortstop. He didn’t play a single game at any other position in Oakland. In his first few seasons with the White Sox, he split time between third base and second. Ultimately, the Rangers’ plan for Semien will depend on who they land/or don’t land during free agency. With Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s defensive ability, the Rangers will have two good defensive infielders regardless of how the alignment occurs. If I have to guess, if the Rangers don’t land another infielder, the club will ask Marcus Semien where he wants to play. Isiah Kiner-Falefa will take the other position (assuming Josh Jung starts opening day) if they land another infielder, then begin stirring that infielder tea.
Other Deals Made Sunday Evening
The Rangers let their fans breathe for about 20 minutes, then signed outfielder Kole Calhoun. The severity of this deal didn’t add up to Semien, but the Rangers are taking the Culberson/Holt route and see what they can get for Kole Calhoun. Calhoun spent the last two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks (only playing in 51 games with Arizona). Previously, he spent eight seasons with the Angels. I wouldn’t expect too much from this deal other than the Rangers adding a veteran and a ginger to their roster. You can never have too many gingers.
The only thing with this Kole Calhoun Rangers deal is that if he makes the opening day roster, we'll have a W. Calhoun and a K. Calhoun.
CALHOUN CHAOS!!! pic.twitter.com/uxHxhqQi8U
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) November 28, 2021
Hours after the two signings, the Rangers bolstered their starting rotation. Texas added the Oklahoma Sooner alum Jon Gray on a four-year and 56 million dollars deal. Gray spent his first six MLB seasons with the Colorado Rockies, including the second visiting starting pitcher to pitch at Globe Life Field. In his first official rookie season in 2016, Gray finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting (Corey Seager won the award in 2016). After a struggling 2018 season, Jon Gray had successful 2019 and 2021 campaigns considering the home ballpark he pitched. One key of note is that in his five full seasons with the Rockies, Gray pitched in 110 or more innings and reached 149 innings four times in his seven Major League seasons. I don’t see Gray making the Opening Day start vs. the Yankees, but I would say he’ll be either a number 2 or number 3 starter (would only be behind Dane Dunning and/or Taylor Hearn). Of course, things could change if the club adds another premiere starting pitcher.
Jon Gray, Filthy Sliders (helicopter sword & bend the knee). 🚁⚔️🐺 pic.twitter.com/5NoZrW5paC
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 4, 2021
Are the Rangers done shopping?
Heavens, no. The Rangers’ signing Sunday may conclude, but don’t show any surprise if the club racks another player in the next few days. Remember, free agency will resume after the lockout is over. There’s no doubt that the Rangers will be active during free agency, and this is only the beginning.
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