Oakland disappointed to lose Semien
The Toronto Blue Jays’ front office made it clear they were going to be active in the free agent market this offseason, hoping to bolster their talented young roster with experienced veterans. They struggled early to land any marquee free agents, but were able to pick up George Springer and Marcus Semien in recent weeks to the delight of their fans.
However, while Blue Jays’ fans are thrilled that their club was able to acquire Semien on a relatively low-risk one-year $18 million deal, his former club were disappointed to see the shortstop leave.
“I mean, it just sucks,” Athletics pitcher Chris Bassitt said in a recent interview with Alex Coffey of The Athletic, via Sportsnet. “I mean, there is no dispute that he was the leader of our team. He was the leader for the entire community stuff that we did. Obviously, it’s a business, this is part of it, but I mean losing someone like Marcus is a big blow.”
Semien was traded to Oakland by the Chicago White Sox following the 2014 campaign and had been with the club ever since. He enjoyed a breakout year in 2019, finishing third in American League MVP voting but was unable to follow it up in 2020. While he didn’t look like the same player last season that he was in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic really affected the way many players train and prepare for a season.
“He’s created a culture here,” Athletics outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha told Coffey. “We didn’t have that culture when Marcus and I first showed up in 2015. It was a lot different four or five years ago. Young players couldn’t really speak up. That’s just how it was. Veterans ran the clubhouse, and they ran it a certain way, and in my opinion, it’s changed for the better.
“We’re a lot more inclusive now and that just allows for better cohesion and Marcus helped build that.”
Semien helped the Athletics reach the playoffs for the past three consecutive seasons, but the club has failed to get past the American League Division Series. They did manage to win their first American League West division title since 2013 last year though, going 36-24 during the shortened season.
“I mean, he was our leader,” Athletics utility man Chad Pinder told Coffey. “Leader of the whole team, not just position players. Everybody looked up to him. The way he went about his business, how hard he worked. Nobody outworked that guy. In four and a half years, I had never seen him miss a warmup, a workout, cage session, groundballs.
“I learned so many things from him about work ethic and routine, and how to be a professional because, I mean, Marcus is the definition of professional.”
While the Athletics are still adjusting to life without their star shortstop, the club must move on quickly with spring training for the upcoming 2021 MLB campaign quickly approaching. They will be hoping they can win another AL West division title with aspirations of going even further in the playoffs.