MLB Rumors: Latest on Marcus Semien's market in free agency

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What this Marcus Semien report means for Red Sox' free-agent pursuit originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The MLB hot stove usually doesn't gain steam until after the new year, but this offseason could be different -- with potential ramifications for the Boston Red Sox.

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Dec. 1, and reports suggest the league is headed for at least two months of a lockout. That means free agents must sign with new teams before Dec. 1 or wait until after whenever the lockout ends.

Two top-tier free agents apparently prefer the former option: Shortstop Corey Seager and infielder Marcus Semien are "increasingly likely" to sign before Dec. 1, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Friday, citing "executives interested in the players."

Semien is a potential fit for the Red Sox, who have a need at second base and actually pursued the All-Star in free agency last offseason. Semien enjoyed a career 2021 campaign for the Toronto Blue Jays, hitting 45 home runs with 102 RBIs while winning a Gold Glove at second base.

Report: Semien 'the one mega signee' Red Sox could consider

The Red Sox may have competition from their archrival, though: The New York Yankees have "shown interest" in both Seager and Semien, Passan reported. MLB executives also told Passan that Seager and Semien reportedly wanting to sign before Dec. 1 could just be a negotiating ploy to try to put pressure on teams like the Yankees to make an offer now instead of waiting until February.

If Semien signs before Dec. 1, it will likely be on a deal worth more than his one-year, $18 million contract in 2021. Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom may not want to pay that much, so the ideal scenario for Boston is Semien going unsigned before the lockout and potentially being open to a pay cut in February or early March as the regular season approaches.

These next few weeks could see more action in years past, though -- with a Red Sox target potentially being on the move.