The Texas Rangers aren't looking to lose 102 games again.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the Rangers agreed to a seven-year, $175 million deal with middle infielder Marcus Semien, one of the top position players on the free-agent market.
Per Baseball Reference, Semien played 147 games at second base for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021, but shortstop has been his primary position across his MLB career. He told Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith in September that "I still see myself as a shortstop."
Penciling Semien in at short rather than second, here's what Texas' lineup could look like:
- 1. Willie Calhoun, DH
- 2. Marcus Semien, SS
- 3. Adolis Garcia, RF
- 4. Nate Lowe, 1B
- 5. Jonah Heim, C
- 6. Billy McKinney, LF
- 7. Nick Solak, 2B
- 8. Leody Taveras, CF
- 9. Yonny Hernandez, 3B
However, he might wind up at second base because Passan reported Texas is still pursuing Trevor Story:
Spotrac projected the Rangers to have a $48.3 million payroll heading into the 2022 MLB season that doesn't include Semien's salary. Unless his contract is front- or back-loaded, he'll count for an annual payroll hit of $25 million.
Meanwhile, Passan reported Sunday night that Texas agreed to a deal with pitcher Jon Gray for four years and $56 million. The team also signed Kole Calhoun to a one-year, $5.2 million deal, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
With Gray's contract holding an average annual value of $14 million and the deals of Calhoun and Semien tacked on, the Rangers' payroll is expected to be around $92.5 million at this point in free agency.
As Passan alluded to, that still leaves a lot of room for a franchise that routinely had an Opening Day payroll around $130-$150 million a few years ago, per Cot's Baseball Contracts.
In addition to landing another big fish in free agency, the Rangers could use their flexibility to tie down some of their best minor league prospects.
Additional reinforcements are clearly needed after five straight years of missing the playoffs. Texas also jettisoned its best player, Joey Gallo, ahead of the 2021 trade deadline. Semien will help, but he alone doesn't make the franchise a World Series contender.
Kiley McDaniel @kileymcd
To be fair, spending $$$ to improve when they aren't good yet is what every fan wants to see. There's no way this is Texas' last move.<br><br>To land the first big fish, you often have to overpay a bit, especially if Boras is involved. NYM/TEX are the most intriguing teams this winter.
Beyond improving the roster, this move may be a sign of intent from the front office.
If the Rangers strike out on Story, then they might simply set their sights on another of the top stars still available.