Blue Jays News: Matt Chapman makes QO decision, No. 22 prospect added to 40-man

In widely expected moves, Matt Chapman rejected the Blue Jays’ QO, while left-handed pitching prospect (and Canadian) Adam Macko was added to the 40-man roster.
Philadelphia Phillies v Toronto Blue Jays
Philadelphia Phillies v Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

With the deadlines Tuesday for accepting a qualifying offer (QO), and protecting eligible prospects from the Rule 5 (R5) Draft on December 6th, there were two Blue Jays-related headlines: as expected, Matt Chapman officially declined the $20.325M QO from Toronto, and Adam Macko had his contract selected to the 40-man roster to protect him from the R5 draft.

Matt Chapman rejects QO

None of the seven players who were tendered QOs for the upcoming 2024 season had accepted as of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline , which continues a long-term trend of very few players betting on themselves with a one-year deal.

As per MLB, “From the time the system was implemented in 2012, only 13 of the 131 to receive a QO have accepted it.” Of the 13, those with more recent Blue Jays ties include Hyun Jin Ryu from the Dodgers, Kevin Gausman from the Giants, Marcus Stroman from the Mets and Brandon Belt from the Giants.

In addition to Chapman, the Jays have already been linked to two other players who rejected their QOs in 2023 AL MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani and Cody Bellinger.

If Chapman signs with another the team, the Blue Jays will receive a compensation draft pick after the 4th round next summer. Should they sign another qualified free agent like Bellinger, the Jays would forfeit international slot money and draft picks.

With Scott Boras as his agent, and a thin free agent market, it’s expected that Chapman, 30, will sign a multi-year deal in the $150-175M range. MLBTR predicts a six-year, $150M deal, while a high water mark might be the seven-year, $175M contract Marcus Semien signed with Texas ahead of his age-31 season in 2022.

Of note, Scott Mitchell of TSN reported that Chapman had passed on a contract extension offer of more than $100M over a 4~5 year term before he reached free agency this season.

LHP prospect Adam Macko added to Jays’ 40-man roster

As predicted, Macko was the only prospect added to the 40-man roster by the Blue Jays. That exposes other prospects like pitchers Damian Santos, CJ Van Eyk and Lazaro Estrada to the draft. Other eligible top-30 Jays prospects who went unprotected include Alex De Jesus (No. 19), Adrian Pinto (No. 25), Gabriel Martinez (No. 26) and Dasan Brown (No. 29).

The Jays now have 39 players rostered, so absent any further moves, like non-tendering or cutting someone, they still have room for a free agent or player acquired via trade, waiver claim or R5 draft on the 40-man roster.

A list of all prospects who were protected by their organizations Tuesday is here. Macko was included in the Teoscar Hernández for Erik Swanson trade made last year, and had a solid season at High-A Vancouver in 2023.

As we’d noted previously, “[Macko posted] a 4.81 ERA over 20 starts and 86 innings, with 106 strikeouts against 40 walks. Scouting reports on Macko note that he has a “low-to-mid-90s [fastball], and his strikeout upside is significant thanks to a strong [55-grade] curveball and fast-improving slider.”

He was also a key part of Vancouver’s 5th Northwest League Championship, pitching them to a Game 1 win on September 12th, with 5 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball. He’d entered the game on a 9.2 consecutive hitless innings streak. That strong finish certainly helped his cause.