Option 2: Explore cheaper external help
Finally, the Jays could look elsewhere to find the ideal replacement at third base. One of the first places they could explore is the upcoming free agency crop of third basemen. Unfortunately, this year’s candidates, excluding Chapman, are all underwhelming to say the least, with the likes of Gio Urshela, Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria, Mike Moustakas, Brian Anderson and others headlining the list. In addition, practically every available player is on the wrong side of 30 as well.
The only free agent option not named Chapman that’s worth to take a flyer on is Jeimer Candelario. He had a solid season split between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs in which he hit .251 with a .807 OPS, 22 home runs, 70 RBI and eight stolen bases. However on the defensive side of things, he committed eight errors for a .971 fielding percentage, along with a -3 DRS, so definitely adequate, but far from Chapman-type numbers.
Another candidate is Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers if they decide to decline the club option. Muncy definitely has the power and run production, with 36 home runs and 105 RBI to show for in his bounce back 2023 season. But his batting average near the Mendoza line with a high number of strikeouts for the past couple of seasons could be a cause for concern as well, not to mention also his defensive deficiencies with 16 errors and -3 DRS at the hot corner.
As a result, there is a high risk if the Jays choose to go this route, as it could end up easily blowing up in their faces. They could potentially even go further and try out the trade route, but that would most likely require the Jays to part with some top prospects in their system in order to get back any sort of quality, since other teams also know that the 2023 free agent pool of third basemen is weak. Ultimately, the gamble is not worth taking, which is probably why they should really just try out their internal options first before even thinking about external options.
Probability of it happening: 3/10