Cubs Rumors: Marcus Semien could be in play this offseason

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

One report suggest the Chicago Cubs could be in on infielder Marcus Semien.

Unless the Chicago Cubs are content with betting on Nico Hoerner at second base, the team has a need at second base. Last year, they pieced it together with Hoerner, David Bote and Jason Kipnis. The latter is, once again, a free agent – leaving just Bote and Hoerner to handle second and handle backup duties at several other positions.

But knowing the team’s self-imposted financial limitations, one wouldn’t think the Cubs would be connected to any legitimate infielders – at least not until they shed more payroll. But according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Chicago could “find themselves at play” for veteran infielder Marcus Semien.

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Now, had Semien hit free agency one year ago, there’s no way we’re having this conversation. Why? Because he was coming off a third-place finish in American League MVP voting after putting up a .285/.369/.522 line and setting career-highs in pretty much every offensive category. Oh, and he played in all 162 games for Oakland that season, to boot.

This year was a very different story for the former sixth-round pick. He batted just .223 with a .305 OBP – good for a 91 OPS+, a far cry from the 139 mark he put up in 2019. So now, he hits the open market on the heels of a pretty so-so campaign, which is what makes him a far more feasible option for the Cubs.

MLB Trade Rumors pegged Semien for a one-year, $14 million deal at the onset of the offseason, but given how slowly the market has developed, I suspect that he’ll net something closer to the $10 million mark in terms of AAV, with a club perhaps going multi-year to lock him down.

Now, remember, Chicago non-tendered Albert Almora, Jose Martinez and Kyle Schwarber in order to save roughly that much in payroll earlier this month. Schwarber and the Cubs are leaving the door open on a reunion, but there’s nothing in the works.

So why would Jed Hoyer and the front office then pivot to someone like Semien?

He addresses a position of need. Furthermore, he hits lefties pretty well – to the tune of a .274/.336/.476 mark in his career. This year, there was a 150-point split in his OPS against lefties versus righties, even in a down year.

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At the end of the day, Semien offers above-average defense alongside Javier Baez up the middle, at the minimum a league-average bat and the ability to hit lefties particularly well (career 121 wRC+). Passan mentioned the Cubs alongside a third of the league, so they’d face stiff competition in securing his services, but if nothing else it’s nice to see them mentioned as a potential fit on a quality player.