The wording would seem to imply that the Jays have yet to address an expansion with Ray, which doesn’t necessarily mean the team is prioritizing Semien. Ray (like many players) might just prefer not to talk about contracts during the season, in order to focus solely on baseball. Also of note, Semien is represented by the Wasserman agency, which has traditionally been more open to negotiations during the season – just last month, Wasserman’s clients Travis d’Arnaud and Brandon Crawford each has signed new agreements to stay with their current teams.
Barring a truly massive offer from the Blue Jays, it was probably unlikely Semien would have agreed to an extension this close to free agency, as the infielder veteran appears poised to land the costly multi-year deal that eluded him. on the open market last time. year. Semien didn’t hit well in the first month of the cropped 2020 season, leaving him with only a 0.223 / 0.305 / 0.374 slash line in 236 AP overall, even after hitting much better in late September and during the athletics qualifiers. Course. Rather than taking a cheaper, multi-year deal, Semien went for a one-year, $ 18 million contract with Toronto, betting on himself to deliver greater numbers over a full season.
This bet paid off handsomely, as Semien hit his 35th homer of the season today, and now beats .266 / .334 / .530 in 601 appearances at home plate. With the abbreviated 2020 season folded between Semien’s great years in 2019 and 2021, his three-season running total of a .268 / .346 / .501 slash line on 1579 PA matches a 128 wRC +, placing it solidly. among the best midfielders in baseball. Semien had been a starting shortstop in Oakland before becoming the Jays second baseman this season, to accommodate Bo Bichette brief.
Ray also had something to prove following a tough 2020 season with the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays, and he quickly joined the Blue Jays with a one-year, $ 8 million pact shortly after opening. the official free agent period. Ray had always been plagued by inconsistencies and high walk totals during his five-plus seasons in Arizona, but after working with the Jays coaching staff and revising his off-season training schedule, Ray flourished as a nominee for the AL Cy Young Award.
Including today’s 6 2/3 White innings against Oakland, Ray has a 2.60 ERA and 32.3% strikeout rate on 166 frames. Perhaps more importantly, Ray only has a six percent walk rate – his career best by far and in the 82nd percentile of all qualified pitchers this season. Ray has also won enough innings to qualify as baseball’s all-time leader in K / 9, scoring 11.2 in his eight seasons in MLB.
In short, Semien and Ray plan to be two of the best free agents of the offseason, and the re-signing of the two could potentially cost the Blue Jays more than $ 200 million. While it remains to be seen whether the Jays will actually be able to bring back even one of the duos for 2022 and beyond, money alone shouldn’t be a deterrent. The signatures of George Springer and Hyun Jin Ryu are proof that Toronto is willing to spend big on free agency, and many young Jays stars are either under cost control through arbitration or (in Bichette’s case) are still over a year away. eligibility for arbitration. The Blue Jays also don’t have that much cash on the books in the coming years, which creates the possibility that Semien and Ray could be placed alongside Springer, Ryu and possibly major extensions for Bichette. , Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Where Teoscar Hernandez.