A few weeks ago, Josh wrote about free agent Matt Chapman in BCB After Dark.
With Shohei Ohtani now signed and (presumably) the top free agent logjam about to break, I thought I’d weigh in on the possibility of Chapman coming to the Cubs.
There’s quite a bit to like about Chapman as a third baseman. For one thing, he’s a four-time Gold Glove winner. Jed Hoyer and his front office began to emphasize defense last offseason and it paid off — the Cubs had three Gold Glove winners in 2023 for the first time in franchise history. Putting a Gold Glove winner at third base would solidify that effort.
There are, of course, some caveats. Chapman’s offensive numbers have declined from his time in Oakland, though he still hit .240/.330/.424 (122-for-509) last year with 39 doubles and 17 home runs. That, plus the defense, was good for 4.4 bWAR, which was actually Chapman’s best WAR year since 2019.
He’ll turn 31 in April, so I wouldn’t want to give a really long-term deal. MLB Trade Rumors suggests he could get a six-year, $150 million deal. That seems a lot for the age 31-36 seasons of a player of this sort of talent. I’d be more inclined to offer four years with a fifth-year vesting option, maybe for a total of $120-$130 million.
There’s one other thing that I think is important here. If the Cubs do sign Chapman, they could have three Gold Glove winners in their infield in 2024. If they’re going to do that they should also have a first baseman who is good defensively. That would seem to rule Rhys Hoskins out. A Chapman signing should probably go along with a Cody Bellinger signing — Bellinger, of course, can play center field but he could also provide very good defense at first base.
So would you sign Chapman for the MLBTR projection? Or the deal I proposed?
One thing is for sure, the Cubs can’t go into 2024 with Nick Madrigal as their primary third baseman.
Have at it.
This poll is closed
... the Cubs should sign him to a contract like the one proposed by MLB Trade Rumors
... the Cubs should sign him to a contract like the one proposed in the article
... the Cubs should sign him, but to a different deal in years or dollars or both
... the Cubs should not sign him
Something else (leave in comments)