As rumors of the Oakland A’s cleaning house continue to swirl, should the Blue Jays look to trade for their star third baseman, Matt Chapman?
The departure of Marcus Semien has left a substantial hole in the Blue Jays infield, and with Cavan Biggio likely taking over at second, where he could excel, this leaves a question mark at the hot corner.
At the moment, Santiago Espinal appears to be in line for the job, but this still leaves something to be desired. A popular name for the Jays to go after has been Cleveland Guardians superstar, Jose Ramirez, although it’s uncertain whether he’s really on the market. Should the Jays be unable to get Ramirez, I think one player they should look at is A’s third baseman, Matt Chapman.
Chapman is coming off his weakest season in the majors as he registered a league-average 100 OPS+, but prior to that had been one of the league’s premier players at third for multiple years. He has been easily one of baseball’s top fielders, winning the Platinum Glove Award in both 2018 and 2019 as the best defender in the American League, and added a third Gold Glove in 2021. To back up the accolades, his 7.9 defensive WAR (per Baseball Reference) is the most in MLB since the start of the 2018 season
Defence isn’t his only strength though. Despite a 2021 season where he was a league-average hitter, Chapman has a track record of being a dangerous player at the plate. Over the course of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he appeared in 301 games and had a 131 OPS+, which ranked 8th in the American League among qualified hitters over that stretch. During those two seasons he also finished 6th and 7th in American League MVP voting. Chapman could be described as a “three true outcomes” hitter, having hit 36 bombs in 2019, and finishing top 10 in both walks and strikeouts this past season. There’s no question that he would be a valuable addition to the Blue Jays lineup, however, it would all depend on how much he costs, and whether it would be worth it.
What would the Blue Jays need to give up for Matt Chapman?
Given that trading Matt Chapman would likely mean that the A’s have no plans on making a playoff run, the Blue Jays would have to give up prospects in the trade. The A’s aren’t short on pitching talent so it would make sense for the Jays to give up batters in a potential deal. I imagine Oakland would be interested in left infield prospects such as Kevin Smith or Jordan Groshans. I think we could also see the Jays send over a mid-range outfield prospect like Josh Palacios or maybe Will Robertson. The Jays could attempt to give up more in order to get an A’s pitcher like Sean Manaea or Chris Bassitt thrown into the trade, but for this proposal, I’ll keep it to just Chapman.
The trade that I think makes the most sense here is the Blue Jays giving up Jordan Groshans, Josh Palacios, and international signing pool money (something the A’s are usually short on) in return for Chapman. I think this is a trade that benefits both sides as the A’s receive a top prospect in Groshans plus some sweeteners, and the Jays get a possibly elite third baseman, who will be under team control through 2023.