With third baseman Matt Chapman set to enter free agency at the conclusion of the 2023 MLB season, the Toronto Blue Jays will certainly have a big hole to fill at the hot corner. After all, the Jays haven’t had such a stabilizing presence at third base ever since Josh Donaldson left town back in 2018. But on top of that, Chapman was able to produce both offensively and defensively for the ballclub, which will definitely be difficult to fully replace in the future.
With that in mind, what are the potential third base options for the Blue Jays for 2024? Here, we rank the probability of the various avenues that the Blue Jays can pursue to address their need.
Option 1: Bring back Matt Chapman
When Matt Chapman arrived in Toronto from the trade with the Oakland Athletics, he was renowned for his elite defence at the hot corner as a three-time Gold Glove winner. The Jays haven’t had someone with that exceptional ability ever since Scott Rolen was last spotted in town. Added to the fact that he is also a power hitter with strong run production, he was indeed the ideal third baseman the Jays had been looking for all along.
In his two seasons with Toronto, he definitely did not disappoint with his defence, making stellar plays at the hot corner, along with a total of 14 DRS over the two years. However, the amount of offence he ended up providing was a bit underwhelming, particularly in 2023. After putting up solid numbers with 27 home runs and 76 RBI in his first season with the ballclub in 2022, he had quite a disappointing season in 2023 as his output fell to 17 home runs and 54 RBI in just 40 less plate appearances. More importantly, he struggled mightily to get anything going after a torrid start to the season in April.
Despite having exceptional defensive capabilities and tremendous power at the plate, his inconsistency in his offensive performance shown this past year is a bit worrisome if it is a good indicator of how he would perform in the long run. However, at the same time, if the Jays aren’t confident enough with their current internal options mentioned above, along with the fact that the upcoming free agency is devoid of any solid options at third base, the Jays may have no choice but to re-sign Chapman as their only viable option.
On the good side, Chapman himself did express that he is open to re-signing with the ballclub, showing that he is interested in staying and growing with the group. If the Jays do intend to pursue that route, the key part for the ballclub though will be to go with a shorter term contract if possible. That is because his inconsistency may potentially become more of a problem as the contract ages, as someone like former Baltimore Orioles’ star Chris Davis comes to mind.
Probability of it happening: 6/10