The case against tendering a QO
The case against making a QO really only revolves around if the front office thinks Chapman will accept it, and they don’t want to block some of their top infield prospects like Orelvis Martinez and Addison Barger from a promotion to the major league club in 2024.
However, the 2023 season as a whole was a reminder that going with a defense-only approach doesn't promise a deep postseason run. The club's complete lack of offense in the AL Wild Card Series led to their elimination from the playoffs with little to no fight. Chapman's streaky bat is nice to have in the lineup while he's on, but when he's off, he's a virtual black hole.
Any decision made wouldn’t be driven by payroll considerations, given Mark Shapiro says the 2024 payroll won’t be dramatically different from the level in 2023.
Chapman is likely seeking a longer-term contract to see him through his late thirties. While the Blue Jays could offer a longer term contract as well, like they did with Encarnación, they also have to work with their young, homegrown core on long term contract extensions. Would a $100M+ deal for Chapman make it harder to extend Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and others?
Regardless, even if he did accept the QO, $20.5M for another year of Matt Chapman in his age 31 season does not sound like a negative. He would bring back his Platinum Glove, stability and continuity, something Mark Shapiro cited as important when he said Ross Atkins would be back in 2024.
Chapman would also solidify a relatively young Jays infield, and might help ease the transition to some of the younger prospects like Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz, Leo Jimenez, Martinez, Barger, Cade Doughty and Tucker Toman. He would also be betting on himself for an even bigger free agent contract next year, and what’s not to like about that?