Going back to the same well
As I said earlier, I’m not going to write about Jose Ramirez or Ketel Marte much today other than to say that I think they’re the obvious top trade targets, I’m just not sure that either are going to be available.
Matt Chapman of the Oakland A’s on the other hand, should be.
With the A’s rumoured to be on the cusp of a rebuild, it’s possible that they could make several of their talented veterans available on the trade market. For a Blue Jays team looking for a star infielder to help mitigate the loss of Marcus Semien, Chapman could be a feasible target. Spotrac.com has him estimated a salary of 9.5 million for the 3x Gold Glove winner, and he’ll have one more year of arbitration eligibility in 2023 before he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
I’ll admit that Chapman isn’t an ideal candidate, mostly because he’s coming off of a season and a half of down production by his standards. In 2021 he slashed just .210/.314/.403 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI over 151 games, and that’s a far cry from the numbers that saw him receive MVP votes in 2018 and 2019. However, Chapman won’t turn 29 until late April of next year, so age-related regression should have nothing to do with it. In my mind, he’s a solid bounce back candidate, and he’s still one of the very best defenders in all of baseball.
On top of his gold standard defence and potential to be a real asset with the bat, the idea of acquiring Chapman has other angles that could be beneficial. At this stage the Blue Jays may also be looking for a fifth starter to join Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Alek Manoah, and the A’s just so happen to have a few valuable veterans. The most likely candidate would be Sean Manaea because of his expiring contract after 2022, but with Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas both having just two years each before becoming free agents, the A’s might consider moving them as well. Not that expanding a trade always makes it easier, but it could certainly catch Oakland’s eye in this situation.
If the A’s are serious about trimming the payroll and turning to more of a rebuild in Oakland, the Jays could be a great fit for a big trade, even if that didn’t work out so well for them back in 2014 when Josh Donaldson became a Blue Jay. It looked like a pretty significant package that was sent to Oakland for the eventual 2015 AL MVP when Toronto swapped Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin, and Franklin Barretto in exchange for the star that hadn’t even found his full potential yet. Let’s just say that one worked out pretty well for then-GM Alex Anthopoulos.
Could there be another opportunity for the Blue Jays to acquire a former Oakland third baseman? As I already said, it’s not an ideal fit by any means, as they would be gambling on a return to form, and bringing in another power-dominant right-handed hitter. Still, as I survey the rest of the options that could be available (excluding Ramirez, Marte, Correa, and Story), I feel like Chapman makes the most sense.
What do you think Blue Jays fans? It might be a while before we find out the answer to this question, but who do you think the Jays will target to fill their infield vacancy?