MLB Rumors: Frontrunner Emerges For Free Agent Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman’s 2023 season started out like gangbusters. His offence was M.I.A. the rest of the year, but his defence at third base was of the usual Gold Glove caliber (he won his 4th such award for those efforts).

Now, after two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, it doesn’t appear that Chapman is destined to return north of the border. According to MLB insider John Heyman, the leading candidate to sign the free agent third baseman is now the San Francisco Giants.

Much of that prediction can be attributed to the fact that the Giants' new manager this season is Chapman's former Oakland A’s field boss, Bob Melvin. Chapman spent his first five seasons in Oakland. The third sacker produced three of his Gold Gloves and sported an OPS+ of 120 (20% better than the average hitter) while working under Melvin’s tutelage.

Heyman lists the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, and yes even the Blue Jays as other possibilities still for Chapman. With a predicted price tag of about $150 million over five or six seasons, it remains to be seen which teams, outside of the Giants, will be ready to pony up that kind of dough.

The 30-year-old began last season with a .384 batting average in April with an insane 1.552 OPS. He also drove in 21 runs in the month. But in four of the next five months of 2023, Chapman struggled to keep his batting average near .200, and his OPS hovered in the .500s or low .600s. He wound up the season with just 17 home runs, his lowest total in a full campaign since his rookie year in 2017.

But truly elite defenders are critical for winning teams, and it’s tough to find a better one anywhere in the sport than Chapman at the hot corner.

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