With third baseman Matt Chapman entering free agency shortly after the conclusion of the MLB playoffs, we had previously looked at the potential options available for the Blue Jays in terms of his replacement. However, an intriguing external candidate was recently brought up by Blue Jays insider Ben Nicholson-Smith in his recent article on hypothetical scenarios for the ballclub this coming offseason. In a couple of his scenarios, Milwaukee Brewers infielder Willy Adames popped up as a potential trade candidate for the Jays to pursue for their answer at the third base position. That is because for the small-market Brewers, his strong play in recent seasons could price himself eventually out of town when he hits free agency in another year's time.
Adames was acquired by the Brewers from the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2021 to help boost their offence. In his three years so far with the Brewers, he has averaged close to 72 runs scored, 29 doubles, 25 home runs and 78 RBI, along with a .242 batting average and .774 OPS. If those numbers sound familiar, it resembled the similar type of output Chapman had been providing the Jays for the past couple of years as well.
A shortstop by trade, Adames has never been utilized at third base throughout his professional baseball career. However, he certainly possesses the necessary tools to do well in the position. In his past two MLB seasons, he has improved drastically in his defence by registering a .973 fielding percentage, along with 9 DRS and 8 DRS in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
In addition, according to Baseball Savant, his Outs Above Average ranked above the 96th percentile the past two seasons, along with an Arm Strength averaging close to the 76th percentile in the past four seasons. It may not be Chapman/Gold Glove-level type of defence just yet, but it is getting close as he continues to improve his game.
Moreover, Adames has constantly hit in the upper half of the Brewers’ lineup the past few seasons, and was a key contributor in terms of run production for the club. With the perfect combination of power, offence and defence, he definitely would be an unorthodox yet ideal replacement option for Chapman if he doesn’t end up re-signing with the team. And at just the age of 28, Adames could be hitting his prime soon, just at the right time for the Blue Jays and their playoff aspirations.