Matt Chapman’s rough start in San Francisco proves the Blue Jays made the right choice moving on

Guess the Blue Jays actually did the right thing for once
San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

During the past offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays were often scrutinized for various moves that they did or did not end up making. One of those moves was their failure to re-sign star third baseman and fan favourite Matt Chapman. When he ended up inking a three-year deal worth just $54 million with the San Francisco Giants, the fanbase became even more infuriated that the Jays couldn’t match such an offer. After all, Chapman was the best third baseman available in free agency and was the perfect example of a player that could provide both elite offense and defense at the same time for any team.

But after seeing Chapman’s rough start in his tenure with the Giants so far, it is turning out to be one move that the Jays finally had it right. In 37 games this season, he has put up a paltry .204 batting average along with a .595 OPS, 18 runs scored, 4 home runs and 14 RBI. On top of that, his 4.6:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is his highest mark since 2020. So it appears that his offensive regression we witnessed in 2023 with the Jays was indeed a foreshadow of what was to come for Chapman.

To add insult to injury, his bread and butter Gold Glove-calibre defense has been anything but elite this year with the Giants. In fact, he has been hard to watch at times with this kind of erratic fielding becoming more the norm for him.


Up until Tuesday night, Chapman had already committed 6 errors in just 102 chances for a .941 fielding percentage, easily making it his worst defensive season of his MLB career to date.

So as much as the Jays have been struggling so far in 2024, at least the so-called Chapman replacements on the team have actually been performing solidly thus far for Toronto. Collectively, Blue Jays starting third basemen had hit .244 with a .690 OPS, together with 15 runs scored, 3 home runs, 14 RBI, 3 stolen bases and a 2.5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Defensively, they have committed only 4 errors and hold a respectable .960 fielding percentage.

If taking a look at the players specifically, Ernie Clement and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have received the majority of the starts at the hot corner. Statistically, Clement has posted a solid .271 average with a .760 OPS with 10 runs scored, a pair of home runs and 6 RBI in 28 games, whereas Kiner-Falefa has held his own as well with a .260 average, 9 runs scored, a home run and 10 RBI in 35 games played. If we also include Justin Turner, who has made a few appearances at third and has more or less been the replacement for Chapman offensively on the team, then one can clearly see that the Jays made the right choice. Turner currently leads the team in batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.357), OPS (.821), doubles (8), RBI (16) and second in hits (31), runs (16), home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.472). Without Turner, who knows where the Jays would even be now.

So as disappointing as the 2024 season have been for the Jays with all the recent negative backlash, they can be rest assured that they did at least one thing right, which was not bringing Chapman back on a multi-year deal. It’s hard to imagine but things could have been even worse if so. Going forward, let’s just hope the Jays can make some more smart moves now and somehow salvage the season before it slowly slips away.