Red Sox: Trevor Story isn’t the only free agent struggling with a new team
The Red Sox aren’t regretting passing on Marcus Semien
After settling for a one-year deal the previous offseason, Marcus Semien proved his worth during his short stint with the Toronto Blue Jays with a career year. Semien won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, finished third on the AL MVP ballot and set a single-season record for second basemen with 45 home runs. The performance earned him a 7-year, $175 million deal from the Texas Rangers.
Semien hasn’t adapted nearly as well to switching teams this time. The veteran infielder is batting a woeful .165/.228/.217. Nobody was expecting a repeat of 45 homers but he’s still looking for his first of the season through 127 plate appearances.
His strikeout rate is in line with his career rate but the quality of the contact he’s making has severely declined. Semien’s 84.9 average exit velocity and 28.3 Hard Hit% are both career lows that put him in the bottom seven percent of the league or worse, per Baseball Savant. His 3.3 Barrel% is also the worst of his career and falls in the bottom 12 percent of the league.
Semien has never been a batting title contender but he typically offsets his modest batting average with his power and a solid walk rate. His power has abandoned him and his ability to draw free passes has dwindled to a 7.1 BB% that would be his lowest since his rookie season.
It’s far too soon to label him a bust but handing a 7-year deal to a 31-year-old was always a questionable choice. The Rangers were eager to spend to revamp their infield with high-profile stars but this is one deal they might regret if Semien doesn’t turn it around. They must have expected this contract wouldn’t age well but for it to become an albatross in Year One would be a disaster.