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Marcus Semien open to contract extension with Athletics

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According to Jon Heyman, shortstop Marcus Semien has informed the Athletics he would be interested in a contract extension. He is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility and can become a free agent after the 2020 season. As Heyman notes, Semien was born in the Bay area and went to college University of California, Berkeley, so there is incentive to remain on the West coast.

Semien, 29, finished third in American League MVP Award balloting for his outstanding 2019 campaign. He played in all 162 games, batting .285/.369/.522 with 43 doubles, 33 home runs, 92 RBI, 123 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 747 plate appearances. He was worth 8.1 WAR, according to Baseball Reference, joining Matt Chapman (2018) as the second Athletic to post an 8+ WAR season since 2002.

If Semien were to test free agency, he would likely be the best shortstop on the market. He would be joined by Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Villar, Nick Ahmed, and Jurickson Profar. However, the slow-moving and oftentimes stagnant free agent market in recent years has incentivized many players to seek extensions rather than hit the open market.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.