Athletics Rumors: Semien, Olson, Chapman, Fiers (www.baseball-reference.com)

The Athletics lost stalwart shortstop

to the Blue Jays via free agency this week, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Oakland never made a formal offer before Semien signed in Toronto for $18MM. Rather, the A’s “floated”  the concept of a one-year deal at a $12.5MM guarantee. Given that $12.5MM would represent a pay decrease, Semien was never likely to consider that in the first place, but Rosenthal further adds that a whopping $10MM of that sum would’ve been deferred over a period of 10 years.

No one expected the A’s to spend much this winter, but a contract structure of that nature feels borderline insulting to a player like Semien, who has been a constant on the A’s roster over the past six seasons. That’s all the more true when Semien had a clearly stronger offer from the Blue Jays and, seemingly, a stronger offer from the Twins (via The Athletic’s Dan Hayes). If the A’s are that strapped for cash, it’s both hard to envision them making any serious additions this winter and unsurprising that fellow infielder Tommy La Stella found a greater offer across town from the Giants.

Some more notes on the A’s…

  • Despite those payroll concerns and the escalating prices of third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson, the A’s aren’t discussing either of their corner infielders in trades, Rosenthal further reports. Chapman agreed to a $6.49MM deal for the upcoming season, while Olson will earn $5MM. Both sluggers figure to be in line for considerable raises next winter, however, and it’s an open question as to just how long the A’s can hang onto them. Oakland controls both through the 2023 season, but it’s not unreasonable to think that one or both sluggers could vault close to the eight-figure range in 2022 or even exceed that threshold (particularly in Chapman’s case).
  • Free-agent righty Mike Fiers tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he hopes to return to the Athletics in 2021. “I had the best time there,” Fiers told Slusser. “I felt like I could be myself, just be the guy I am and help people and play for Bob Melvin, who is obviously one of the best managers in baseball and a guy that really wants to win and does everything he can to win.” Fiers added that while he’s pitched for several franchises, the A’s felt like “home.” The righty is open to a one-year deal, which almost feels like a prerequisite given the Athletics’ aversion to spending this winter, but it remains to be seen if they’ll even put forth an offer of any type to the righty. Fiers’ fastball dipped to a career-low 88.4 mph in 2020 — a 2.4 mph decrease from his 2019 velocity. He was still serviceable, however, with a 4.58 ERA in 11 starts and 59 innings. Since being traded to Oakland in 2018, Fiers has an even 4.00 ERA in 296 2/3 innings with the A’s. He’s logged a below-average 17.6 percent strikeout rate, but his 6.5 percent walk rate is much better than the league average of 8.6 percent.

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