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With the Athletics’ season having ended in disappointing fashion in an ALDS loss to the Astros, they’re turning their focus to important winter matters. The A’s have multiple notable pending free agents, including Marcus Semien, and they hope to retain the shortstop, general manager David Forst informed Martin Gallegos of and other reporters on Friday.

“I told him we would love to have him back here,” Forst said to Semien in a text message. “We’ve had an open line of communication with him and his agent. That will certainly be one of the topics for this offseason.”

A year ago at this time, Semien looked like one of the premier players in baseball. He was then coming off an MVP-caliber effort that saw him slash .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 7.6 fWAR in a 162-game, 747-plate appearance season. Prior to that, Semien was closer to a league-average hitter, and he returned to that form in 2020. The 30-year-old concluded with a .223/.305/.374 mark and seven homers over 236 PA, which won’t serve him well as he nears his first trip to free agency.

If the A’s aren’t able to extend Semien in the next few weeks, they’ll have to decide whether to hand him a qualifying offer worth $18.9MM. But they’ll have to make the same choice with elite reliever Liam Hendriks, and it’s hard to believe the small-budget A’s would risk committing so much money to both players. Regardless, if Semien does become a free agent, he’ll join Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons and soon-to-be posted KBO star Ha-Seong Kim as one of the top shortstops on the market.

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