Shopping list

Chicago Cubs should have Marcus Semien on their shopping list

The Chicago Cubs should have a long running list in the upcoming offseason. With a class of free agents stacked up, they have a real opportunity to get back on track and compete in the NL Central over the next two years. While the pitching staff certainly needs a definitive ace, the pieces are there to make a splash on offense and Marcus Semien must be near the top of their list.

We’ve already covered Carlos Correa as an option, but there will no doubt be some serious competition for the Astros superstar who MLB Trade Rumors ranked best free agent this offseason. Semien represents a really solid alternative who has rebounded to MVP caliber with Toronto after a tough 2020.

He leads all of baseball in plate appearances with 547 and has an OPS+ of 132 during that span. Additionally, he’s tied for second in WAR for all players with 5.8, only losing to the two-way juggernaut himself, Shohei Ohtani.

It’s basically a carbon copy of Semien’s 2019 season at Oakland. Back then, he also paced all of baseball in plate appearances while posting a 140 OPS+, good for a third place MVP. On the defensive end, Semien turned the tide in Oakland and posted a positive record UZR every year through 2018. He even has extra defensive versatility, posting a 5.7 UZR at second base this year.

Chicago Cubs need Marcus Semien

Semien could very easily take control of shortstop, moving Nico Hoerner to center field, but he also has major league experience managing the hot corner with the White Sox. He has the bat to justify a move to a corner spot, leaving Hoerner and Madrigal to cover the middle. Also, it may be a good idea to drag it given its age. Semien’s only downside compared to other big-name shortstops is that he’ll be 31 next year, but having the option to move up to No. 3 can counteract that on the field.

When looking for a deal with Semien, it probably won’t be in the long-term range of Seager or Correa, but a four- or five-year deal would make a lot of sense and could potentially make him a good bridge to prospects like Cristian. . Hernandez or Ed Howard. He won’t come cheap, but given his age and background, he’s also not going to rake in the money from any of the other shortstops, leaving the Cubs with more financial flexibility going forward.

Semien gives the Cubs a lot of flexibility that other free agents might not have. Obviously, the team will likely be waiting for the ABC to see if Universal DH might be in play, but he’s a guy to watch given how well he can fit into their long-term plans.