Even though offering him the Qualifying Offer would be a mistake, the Oakland A’s should still consider bringing Marcus Semien back.
Marcus Semien had seemingly played his way out of an extension with the Oakland A’s last season. He had a career year, one that the A’s had been waiting for since acquiring him as part of the return for Jeff Samardzija. Semien had an MVP caliber year, and with one year left before free agency, seemed destined for a large payday.
Semien still needed to prove himself in 2020. He needed to show that his career season was not a fluke, that he was capable of sustaining something close to that level of production. If he could, or even be close to that player, it was inevitable that the A’s would hand him a Qualifying Offer, recouping a draft pick if nothing else.
Instead, he has struggled this season, returning to his previous levels of production. That essentially removes the QO from the table, as the A’s cannot afford to give that much money to a player with slightly below league average production. With the numerous holes that they will need to fill, particularly in the bullpen, it just does not make financial sense.
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However, Semien himself creates one of those holes. The A’s could nominally look to Sheldon Neuse to fill the gap at short, but he could be needed at second base given the upcoming departure of Tommy La Stella. While three of the A’s top six prospects are shortstops, none of them have played above high-A prior to this year.
This would leave the A’s looking to free agency to fill that gap. Yet, instead of bringing in a new face, it could make sense to simply retain Semien, looking to give him a two or three year deal to bridge the gap to Nick Allen, Logan Davidson, or Robert Pauson.
A two or three year deal may work perfectly. Semien is no longer looking at the type of salary he had been previously, with a deal worth approximately $12 to $13 million annually far more likely. He did make $13 million, albeit prorated, this season, a number that can fit into the A’s budget. It is entirely possible that he is not in his final days in Oakland.
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Instead, Marcus Semien could be a member of the Oakland A’s for a few more years. His play this season may have put him back within their budget.