TORONTO, ONT – Shortstop Marcus Semien agreed to an $18 million, one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the agreement was subject to a successful physical.
Semien will become the second star and fourth free agent added by the Blue Jays during a slow offseason amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Toronto gave outfielder George Springer a $150 million, six-year deal. Toronto also agreed to one-year contracts with right-handers Kirby Yates ($5.5 million) and Tyler Chatwood ($3 million) and re-signed left-hander Robbie Ray to an $8 million, one-year contract.
Semien hit .223 with seven homers, 23 RBIs and .679 OPS in 53 games last season, his sixth with Oakland. He earned $4,814,815 in prorated pay from a $13 million salary.
Semien finished third in AL MVP voting in 2019, when he hit 33 homers with 92 RBIs with an .892 OPS.
Toronto went 32-28 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, finishing third in the AL East behind Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees and qualifying for the expanded postseason despite behind forced to play home games in Buffalo, New York, due to Canadian government restrictions on travel. The Blue Jays were swept in two games by the AL champion Rays in a first-round series.
They have an emerging young core and are adding major contracts while younger players such as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. relatively low salaries because they remain shy of eligibility for arbitration.