Free-agent shortstop Marcus Semien is leaving the A’s and heading north of the border.
The popular Semien reportedly agreed to a one-year, $18 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, according to several reports. The deal is pending a physical. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Semien is expected to play second base for the Jays, who have Bo Bichette at shortstop.
Since being acquired via trade from the Chicago White Sox before the 2015 season, Semien has been the A’s starting shortstop. In his six seasons with the A’s, the right-handed-hitting Semien hit .254 with 115 homers and 380 RBIs with 66 stolen bases. He had a breakthrough season in 2019, when he hit .285 with 33 homers and 92 RBIs — all career highs. Semien finished third in the American League Most Valuable Player voting in 2019.
Upon joining the A’s in 2015, Semien’s defense was brutal. He committed 35 errors, including 18 throwing errors, that season. Both of those marks were the worst in MLB. But he worked on improving defensively, primarily thanks to then-A’s coach Ron Washington, and committed 12 errors in 2019.
His power plus improved defense made him a popular free-agent target of teams looking to upgrade at shortstop, including the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. The Blue Jays were a feel-good story in 2020, making the playoffs despite not being able to play home games in Toronto due to Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions. The Jays instead played their home games in Buffalo, N.Y., not far from Toronto.
Semien is the second key player lost from the A’s team that won the AL West in 2020. Closer Liam Hendriks signed a four-year, $54 million contract with the Chicago White Sox two weeks ago.