The Toronto Blue Jays finalized a trade for All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman from the Oakland Athletics. The 28-year-old Gold Glover is under contract for the next two seasons. He’s expected to earn $9.5 million, according to Sportrac. In 2021, Chapman committed six errors with nine Rdrs (Defensive runs saved above average) to earn his second consecutive Gold Glove despite a down year at the plate. This week, general manager Ross Atkins indicated that the team prioritized the infield to make additions. The Blue Jays got their third baseman at the cost of giving up four prospects in the process. However, Chapman brings a lot to the table for a team that acquired him for plenty of reasons.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 16, 2022
Matt Chapman Expectations
Third Base Was a Clear Need
The Blue Jays went from scenarios where they moved players around the infield to play third to having a solidified defender play the hot corner. Last season, Blue Jays’ third baseman hit .247/.324/.360 as a group that includes Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, and Kevin Smith, who is Oakland bound. There was room to upgrade at that position, and rightfully so. After the trade, the Blue Jays now have a much-needed upgrade at the hot corner spot.
Chapman fills the much-needed infield hole and brings offensive upsides. It’s massive for the Blue Jays pitching staff, especially for a starter like Hyun Jin Ryu. With Chapman at third, the little squeakers that get through the infield to advance the runner won’t happen as much. It could allow Ryu to work more efficiently on the mound. Chapman is the gold standard for defense; it’s a better glove than Josh Donaldson. He’s a defensive wizard who had 17 Outs Above Average in 2021.
With Chapman’s defense comes a bat that can do damage too. Despite a career-high in strikeouts last season, he had surgery on his labrum in September 2020. It’s not possible he was feeling the effects as he still hit 27 home runs and 77 RBI. When he’s fully healthy, he’s an offensive threat who’s considered a strong replacement for Marcus Semien in the lineup.
The Prospects Going to Oakland
The Blue Jays are sending four players to the Athletics. Gunnar Hoglund, Toronto’s 2021 first-round pick headlines the deals. Also going to Oakland are Kevin Smith and left-handed pitchers Zach Logue and Kirby Snead. Per MLB.com, Hoglund and Smith were in the Blue Jays’ top ten prospects, coming in at No. 4 and No. 9, respectively. Logue is No. 27, and Snead is not in the top 30 list.
Many believed that Jordan Groshans, a top-five prospect, would be a part of the deal. It’s a smart move since he could take Chapman’s place at the third base within a year or two. Altogether, this was a major move the Blue Jays were eyeing before the lockout. Toronto now has a gifted defender at the hot corner with an infield upgrade crossed off their to-do list. Chapman will be a very busy player this season.
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