Oakland Athletics: Handicapping the A’s next big extension

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

3. Marcus Semien, SS


Over the years, the A’s have seen Marcus Semien grow from a struggling shortstop to one of the best players in baseball. The 2019 season was really a breakout year for the 29-year-old.

Semien was worth 8.1 WAR and produced a .285/.369/.522 line (138 OPS+) across 747 plate appearances while appearing in all 162 games. In addition to this, he blasted 32 home runs, tallied 92 RBI, and scored 123 runs.

When the season was over and given the A’s 97-65 record last season, Semien was very much in the MVP discussion. He finished third in the MVP vote behind only Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros.

These are good names to be associated with.

In comparison to Matt Olson and Matt Chapman, the A’s have a more pressing decision to make with Semien. The shortstop has appeared in parts of seven seasons with the A’s and Chicago White Sox and becomes a free agent following the 2020 season.

With one year of control remaining, the A’s front office has a limited window with which to hand out an extension. If Semien reaches free agency, the A’s will have a difficult time matching the contracts that bigger markets will be able to offer.

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The cost-conscious A’s have a difficult decision to make. Even if money was not a factor, the decision of whether to extend Semien is complicated.

Despite Semien having a breakout year in 2019, and thus improving his future earnings potential, the right-handed bat has been a below-average hitter for much of his career.

From 2013-2018, Semien posted a 96 OPS+, so his performance last season is difficult to interpret. On one hand, that season could become a potential springboard for Semien into stardom. However, on the other hand, the 2019 season could be seen as an outlier.

In summary, there is a lot of variability in Semien’s performance. If the University of California-Berkeley product carries his 2019 production in 2020, then he will very likely price himself outside of the A’s market.

Odds: 10 percent


The variability in Semien’s performance has got to be a concern, especially for a team such as the A’s where every dollar spent needs to generate value. That is not to say, Semien would not generate value if he signed an extension.

However, the team may not have enough confidence to be able to extend Semien. With free agency right around the corner, all bets are off, and the shortstop is the most likely core A’s player to not be retained.