Oakland A’s: Marcus Semien is not worth the Qualifying Offer
By David Hill
What was seemingly a difficult decision to make at the start of the season is a lot easier for the Oakland A’s and Marcus Semien.
The 2019 season was exactly what the Oakland A’s had been waiting for. Marcus Semien finally lived up to his potential, emerging as one of the best all around players in the game offensively. His career best .285/.369/.522 batting line, with 33 homers and ten steals, earned a third place finish in the MVP vote and had seemingly set Semien up for a large payday in free agency.
His performance also led to a potentially difficult question for the A’s once the 2020 season came to an end – should they extend the Qualifying Offer to Semien? If he could replicate that production, the decision was a no-brainer. Even if he could produce 80% of his numbers from 2019, the QO would be well worth the price.
That made the 2020 season vitally important for Semien. He needed to show not only the A’s, but the rest of the baseball world, that his breakthrough 2019 season was legitimate. He needed to prove that he finally had his breakout and was set to become a star at short.
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Instead, Semien began the year flat as a black hole in the A’s lineup. While he has picked up offensively over the past few weeks, he has not come close to that 2019 level of production. In his 227 plate appearances this season, he has produced a disappointing .222/.304/.379 batting line with seven homers and four steals.
His production has been worth an OPS+ of 92. That mark is essentially around his career norm, as he has finished the year as a slightly below average hitter in every season outside of 2019. This is basically what Semien has been – a decent shortstop with some pop and speed who can tantalize with his tools, but has only put everything together once.
It may just be a year since his breakout campaign, but the 2019 season certainly looks like an aberration. Any teams that have interest in Semien will need to determine if that is the case, or whether his impressive showing that year can be replicated. Either way, he is likely to sign somewhere for less than the annual value of the QO.
The Oakland A’s needed to determine whether or not Marcus Semien would be worth a Qualifying Offer. His production this season has answered that question in the negative.