Marcus Semien

Marcus Semien could be the missing piece that puts the Red Sox over the top in 2022.

The Red Sox are about as well-positioned heading into 2022 as anyone could have hoped.

Most of the key players from the ALCS-reaching 2021 team are set to return. The team has tens of millions of dollars of dead money finally coming off the books. And, maybe best of all, the farm system has quickly blossomed into one of the best in baseball.

Boston is in prime position to make a championship push, and baseball boss Chaim Bloom shouldn’t shy away from making a big splash in the free agent marketplace. Now.

And as it happens, there is one top free agent who would perfectly fit the Red Sox and should be a top priority:

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien.

Semien is coming off a career year with the Blue Jays, one that made him a finalist for the American League MVP award. His 45 home runs were an MLB record by a second baseman, and he also had 102 RBI, an .873 OPS and a 7.3 wins above replacement mark, which was best in the big leagues by a position player.

He also won a Gold Glove and was remarkably durable. He played in all 162 games for the Blue Jays and led the majors with 724 plate appearances.

Imagine adding that kind of production to a Red Sox lineup that was already among the best in baseball. Especially at a position where the team’s primary options were Christian Arroyo and Jose Iglesias.

Semien would be a transformative addition for the Red Sox, and plucking him out of Toronto would have the added benefit of weakening a top division rival. The money shouldn’t be a problem either, so the question is whether or not there might be better alternatives instead.

In terms of free agent middle infielders, there are no shortage of options. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is the top free agent on the market, and guys like Javy Baez, Trevor Story and Corey Seager all fit the profile as well.

Correa would require an extraordinary investment, probably at least $30 million per year over a 9-10 year span. Correa might be worth that kind of deal, but it would be odd to see the Red Sox break the bank like that when they wouldn’t for Mookie Betts.

Seager, Story and Baez, who the Red Sox have reportedly shown interest in, will likely command at least seven-year deals as well. Probably worthwhile, but still quite a commitment.

Semien will still require a huge annual investment, but at age 31 any deal he signs should be comparatively short. That would not only be a safer option, but it would better fit into the team’s long-term time frame.

Marcelo Mayer, the team’s top prospect and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 draft, is going to be a factor in the big leagues sooner or later. He should eventually start at either shortstop or second base for the Red Sox, but at 18 years old he’s still a couple of years away.

Bringing Semien into the fold would help ensure the Red Sox middle infield remains a strength over the next four years, regardless of how things play out with Xander Bogaerts’ upcoming opt out decision.

And is it realistic? Well, a couple of months back, legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons wrote this: “He is seemingly the one mega signee that they’d consider.”

Gammons wouldn’t write that without good reason, and by all accounts the move would make perfect sense. Semien could be the piece that puts the Red Sox over the top, and Bloom should move decisively to bring him aboard.

Email: mcerullo@northofboston.com. Twitter: @MacCerullo.

Email: mcerullo@northofboston.com. Twitter: @MacCerullo.

Email: mcerullo@northofboston.com. Twitter: @MacCerullo.

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