MLB free agency roundup: Marcus Semien heads to Rangers; Byron Buxton inks Twins extension


With murmurs of a lockout and a collective bargaining agreement that will expire at midnight Dec. 2, Major League Baseball had a busy holiday weekend on the free-agency front.

The New York Mets agreed to terms with three players during a “Black Friday” shopping spree, and other teams jumped in from there. Earlier in the week, the Tampa Bay Rays secured a future with phenom shortstop Wander Franco, 20, with a record deal that guaranteed him $185 million.

The news kept coming Sunday: a veteran starting pitcher inked a short-term deal and an veteran infielder got paid, plus a noteworthy extension. Here’s the news from Sunday:

Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers finished the 2021 MLB season with a league-worst .670 team on-base plus slugging percentage. The Toronto Blue Jays led MLB in that category (.797), and the one-year acquisition of Marcus Semien certainly helped.

Now the Rangers have Semien to anchor shortstop, as the 31-year-old signed a seven-year, $175 million deal on Sunday, according to ESPN.

Semien enjoyed a career year in Toronto. He played in all 162 games, finished third in MVP voting and set career highs in RBI (102) and homers (45). He also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, parlaying it all into a payday that Texas was happy to provide.

MLB free agency roundup: Marcus Semien heads to Rangers; Byron Buxton inks Twins extension

Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

This is a gamble by both sides, as the injury-prone Buxton has played more than 92 games in a season just once. But he is a rare five-tool player, so the Twins signed him to a seven-year, $100 million contract, according to ESPN.

The deal pays Buxton $9 million next season and $15 million until 2028. Buxton will turn 28 next month.

The deal is incentive-laden, per The Athletic, with escalators included for MVP awards. The breakdown is:

Avisaíl Garcia, Miami Marlins

Garcia, 30, was an All-Star in 2017 while with the White Sox and played for Tampa Bay (2019) before spending the last two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2021, he reached career highs in home runs (29) and RBI (86) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.820).

In the need of bats, the Marlins signed the outfielder to a four-year, $53 million deal, according to ESPN.

Corey Kluber, Tampa Bay Rays

A two-time American League Cy Young winner, Kluber endured a third injury-ridden season, this time after a season with the New York Yankees. He missed about three months with a shoulder injury after throwing a no-hitter on May 19 and finished with a 3.83 ERA in 16 starts (80 innings). He appeared in eight games in the two years before that.

A different AL East team will give the 35-year-old another shot: the Rays. Kluber’s deal is one year and $8 million, per multiple reports. Incentives could bring the deal to $13 million, based on number of start thresholds.

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

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