Semien inks 7-year, $175M deal with Rangers

December 1st, 2021

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers signed second baseman to a seven-year deal on Wednesday. The contract is worth $175 million, a source told's Mark Feinsand.

It is the first big splash for a team that has publicly stated its intent to spend big in free agency this winter. But an even bigger splash was in the offing: The Rangers agreed to terms on a 10-year, $325 million deal with shortstop Corey Seager on Monday.

"Marcus’ reputation around the game is impeccable. He’s a leader in every clubhouse he steps into, respected for the way he goes about his work and how he treats others," said Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels. "There are few players in the game who garner the level of respect that he does from teammates and opponents alike. We’re thrilled to add a player of his caliber to the organization."

"We feel that Marcus is an excellent fit for the Rangers organization from a talent, culture, and leadership standpoint," said Rangers executive vice president and general manager Chris Young. "Beyond his ability as a player, Marcus is an outstanding person who leads by example both on and off the field."

When completed, Semien and Seager's contracts will be the first long-term free-agent deals the Rangers have signed since Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million deal ahead of the 2014 season.

Semien, 31, played eight seasons at shortstop before sliding over to second base in 2021 after signing a one-year free-agent deal with the Blue Jays. In Toronto, he played all 162 games and slashed .265/.334/.538 (.873 OPS) en route to earning his first career All-Star appearance, Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove Award. Semien also hit 45 homers, which was a single-season record for a primary second baseman, while collecting 102 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.

He finished third in American League MVP voting, behind winner Shohei Ohtani and teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Semien would be an upgrade defensively as well, whether it’s at second base or shortstop. Even though second wasn’t his natural position, he won a Gold Glove. Isiah Kiner-Falefa -- who won a Gold Glove at third in 2020 -- played shortstop for the Rangers in 2021, but he will likely have to find a new defensive home with Seager and Semien holding down the middle infield.

Semien’s 7.3 WAR (per Baseball Reference) and 6.6 WAR (per FanGraphs) is well above any Ranger that spent the entire season with the club. Outfielder Adolis García led Texas with a 3.8 bWAR and 2.9 fWAR.

Texas hired offensive coordinator Donnie Ecker and Tim Hyers as hitting coach to revamp the process. The acquisition of Semien is the first step in a planned offensive overhaul for the Rangers at the big league level, and it is an immediate upgrade for a Texas team that has struggled for the last two years.

In 2021, the Rangers ranked last in MLB in OPS (.670) and on-base percentage (.294) and 29th in batting average (.232). No player who began and ended the season with Texas had more than 20 home runs except Adolis García, who finished with 31.

It’s also fair to note that while Semien is the oldest of the free agent shortstops at 31, he’s stayed relatively healthy compared to the other options. He played more games than both Corea Correa (500) and Seager (452) over the last five years at 621, including a full 162 in 2019 and 2021.

More than anything, Semien's deal shows that general manager Chris Young and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels were not bluffing when they said they would spend money to build a winner this offseason. The Rangers are no longer in tear-down mode. There are still holes to fill, but Semien is just the first step in the right direction.

The Rangers also signed outfielder to a one-year deal with a club option for 2023, the team announced on Tuesday. The lefty hitter most recently slashed .230/.320/.455 with a 107 OPS+ across 105 games between 2020 and '21 with the D-backs.

Calhoun, a 10-year MLB veteran, provides more depth in the outfield for the Rangers, with little certainty outside of García at any of the three positions. The lefty will join an outfield competition that includes no fewer than six other potential starters come Opening Day, including former top prospect Leody Taveras and a trio of former Dodgers in DJ Peters, Billy McKinney and Zach Reks.