Might the Matt Chapman era in Toronto continue?
Ben Nicholson-Smith reported earlier this month that the Blue Jays “absolutely remain interested” in bringing Chapman back on a multi-year deal. On Thursday, Jon Heyman of the New York Post noted that Toronto is making a “big push” to keep Chapman and that the San Francisco Giants are interested as well.
“The Giants seek up-the-middle strength but are also interested in star third baseman Matt Chapman.
New manager Bob Melvin and Chapman were together across the bay, in Oakland.
The Jays are making a big push to keep Chapman.”
The American League Gold Glove winner at third base is a free agent for the first time in his career after declining the qualifying offer from the Blue Jays earlier this week. MLB Trade Rumours ranked Chapman as this year’s seventh-best free agent and his contract projection is six years, $150 million.
There’s no denying that Chapman is one of the best defensive infielders in baseball and that his play at the hot corner has helped Toronto’s pitchers considerably over the past two seasons, but that’s a lot of money to invest in a 30-year-old with a hot-and-cold bat. Chapman started off the 2023 season with a nuclear April and then slashed a .205/.298/.361 line from May through September.
Scott Mitchell of TSN said earlier this week that the Blue Jays are waiting to see if Chapman isn’t able to get the big-ticket contract he was looking for on the open market. He also noted that Chapman had previously declined a multi-year contract extension from the Blue Jays.
“The Jays haven’t given up hope that Matt Chapman doesn’t find the massive contract he’s hoping for in free agency and would take something in the neighbourhood of $100 million over four or five years.
Considering he already turned down more than that from Toronto in the form of a long-term extension, it still seems unlikely that the Jays get their all-world defensive third baseman back, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.”
It seemed that the Blue Jays were comfortable letting Chapman walk this winter given how general manager Ross Atkins spoke about the team’s impending free agents at his end-of-season media availability back in October. Atkins said “We’ll miss Matt Chapman, Brandon Belt, and Kevin Kiermaier” and that the team would look to “fill those holes from within and externally” but clarified after that mentioning them in the past tense was unintentional.
ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO