With the lack of quality third baseman in this year’s free agency, Matt Chapman is the top option available. The Jays have already previously expressed interest in re-signing Chapman, but if those plans fall through, many believe that they could turn their attention to the next best option in Jeimer Candelario.
Candelario put together a solid campaign in 2023 by posting a .251 average and .807 OPS, along with 77 runs scored, 22 home runs and 70 RBI in 140 games played. Looking further into his previous track record, he can provide approximately 15-20 home runs and 50-70 RBI while batting around .240-.250 per season, which all happens to mirror Chapman’s production in recent years.
However, Candelario is leagues below Chapman in terms of providing elite defence, as for his career, he has compiled -26 DRS with a .969 fielding percentage. Just for comparison, Chapman has an astounding 94 DRS in just seven seasons along with a .973 fielding percentage. With many teams likely to go after Candelario once he becomes a hot commodity the moment Chapman is off the board, the Jays should remain conservative in the offers they give him. That’s because with his limitations defensively along with his inconsistent offence, he may not be a long-term answer at the position for the ballclub. In such case, the Jays would be better off using an internal solution and saving their resources to address other needs where they could get a more substantial upgrade as a result.