The MLB hot stove has been ice cold this winter, but here’s a nugget that will warm Red Sox fans up. According to insider Jim Bowden of CBS Sports, the Sox are one of a handful of teams pursuing free-agent infielder Marcus Semien, who finished third in American League MVP voting during his breakout 2019. Semien regressed in 2020, submitting an anemic .223/.305/.374 batting line in 54 regular-season appearances, though he roared to life with a dominant October, surging to a .407 average over 27 postseason at-bats.
Though a shortstop by trade, Semien does have experience at both second (29 games including 26 starts) and third base (44 starts). With Xander Bogaerts entrenched at shortstop, second base would likely be Semien’s primary position in Boston. Should he join the Red Sox, the hot corner could also be in play for Semien. Starting third baseman Rafael Devers has largely been a defensive liability and could be ticketed for a move either across the diamond to first base or eventually to designated hitter, a role currently occupied by veteran J.D. Martinez.
In addition to the Red Sox, Semien has also attracted interest from the Phillies, Reds and Athletics. If he favors continuity, Semien could return to Oakland, where he has spent the past six seasons, though paying top dollar for free agents has never been the A’s MO. The right-handed-hitting Semien, who starred at Cal-Berkeley before turning pro as a sixth-round pick of the White Sox in 2011, could be a nice get for the Phillies, who are looking to replace Didi Gregorius (also a free agent) at shortstop.
Semien’s age (he turned 30 in September) and pedestrian .254 career average could give teams pause, though the promise he showed in 2019 (.285 with 33 homers, 92 RBI and 10 steals) and again this past fall should be enough to warrant a lucrative, multi-year contract. For what it's worth, Semien holds a .217 average with one homer in 60 lifetime at-bats at Fenway Park.