Blue Jays fans woke up to some great news on Wednesday, as they are reportedly acquiring Matt Chapman from the Oakland A’s to upgrade their infield. The news was first reported by Carlos Baerga, who has been in the news quite a bit this week on the rumour mill.
Chapman brings a needed upgrade in their infield, and one that improve the overall team defence, especially on the left side of the infield. He’s regarded as one of the best defenders in baseball, and while he hasn’t been quite the same player with the bat recently, there are plenty of reasons to believe in a bounce back in that area as well.
Chapman slashed .210/.314/.403 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI over 151 games, good for 3.5 bWAR. He won the third Gold Glove award of his career for his defence at the hot corner, which largely carried his WAR stat. However, if Chapman can rediscover his batting stroke, one that saw him finish 6th in AL MVP voting in 2019, and 7th the year before, the Blue Jays may have just stolen another star third baseman from the A’s.
It’s not yet known what the return for Chapman will be, but it likely doesn’t preclude the Blue Jays from adding another impact bat before their offseason is complete. Chapman will make 9.5 million in 2022 before one final trip through arbitration in 2023, so his contract is very reasonable and the Blue Jays should be able to fit another high-end player on the payroll. The timeline also works well for Chapman and the Jays, as hopefully in two years they’ll have an internal candidate ready to take over, such as top prospect Orelvis Martinez, or maybe even Jordan Groshans.
It’s definitely a step in the right direction for the Blue Jays with this move, and something tells me there’s more to come. On a day that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. turns 23, that’s not a bad birthday present for the younger slugger.