New Rangers Seager, Semien turn focus to on-field matters
Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are finally together on the field and able to talk about what they want to accomplish with the Texas Rangers, who committed a half-billion dollars to the middle infielders just before the Major League Baseball lockout.
While there were plenty of conversations between the two during the offseason, most of their texts were dominated by what was going on in labor negotiations before an agreement last week ended the 99-day lockout, more than three months after they became teammates.
“The union stuff was just sort of taking over all of our conversations,” said Semien, part of the eight-player executive subcommittee. “What’s going on, what do you think of this, think of that? Where are we on that? ... We didn’t get to talk about what we want to accomplish here.”
They went through drills together Monday when the Rangers held their first official workout of the delayed spring training in Surprise, Arizona.
“It was awesome,” Seager said afterward. “Now you’re done with the, I guess, quote-unquote business side of it. It’s all about baseball, it’s all about going out there and competing and learning each other. And that that’s the fun part.”
Texas signed two-time All-Star and 2020 World Series MVP Seager to a $325 million, 10-year contract after agreeing to a $175 million, seven-year contract with Gold Glover and All-Star second baseman Semien.
“We’re going to be attached at the hip for the entire camp, and all year. It’s my middle infield partner, both of us are going to be leaders and will on this ballclub for years to come,” Semien said. “So getting to know him a little bit more. ... I’m excited. We’ve got a lot of years ahead of us to learn each other and whatever, over this seven and 10 years. And I think there’s going to be a lot more players coming to join us.”
Their deals got finalized and they were formally introduced Dec. 1, hours before MLB’s five-year collective bargaining agreement with the union expired and management imposed the lockout. Teams couldn’t have any contact with the players on their 40-man rosters during that time.
There was such a long gap between signing and going to camp, that it really didn’t hit Seager again that he was no longer a Dodger until showing up in Surprise. He played his first seven big league seasons with LA, which during the pandemic-altered 2020 season played 16 consecutive postseason games at Globe Life Field in Arlington on the way to the Dodgers’ first World Series title since 1988.
Seager recalled Monday the frenzy of signing the contract just before the deadline and then almost immediately not being able to talk to his new coaches.
“You signed, you’re super-excited. Had my day, walked around, but then contact was cut off,” said Seager, who noted he worked out a lot to be as ready as possible when the lockout was done. “You didn’t have that period where you’re still talking to those guys. So when I showed up in camp, that was kind of the moment where it like clicked back in.”
Seager and Semien are joining a Rangers team that lost 102 games last year, which was the fifth consecutive losing season since being AL West champions in 2014 and 2015.
The Rangers also added right-handed starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) and veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun before the lockout and have since signed veteran left-hander Martin Perez.
Seager and Semien, who spent last season with Toronto after six years with Oakland in the AL West, know it will take some time and plenty of work, but are embracing the chance to be part of building something special.
“We understand our roles and understand what they’re expecting, and what we’re expecting, and going out there and just doing it,” Seager said. “It going just be going there and putting the work in.”
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