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Giants Interested In Matt Chapman

Giants Interested In Matt Chapman

The Giants are interested in free agent Matt Chapman, reports Jon Heyman of The New York Post, though he adds that the Blue Jays “are making a big push to keep” the third baseman.

Chapman, 31 in April, has been a speculative fit for the Giants this offseason for a few reasons. For one thing, the club’s new manager Bob Melvin was the skipper in Oakland while Chapman was there. Beyond that, it’s widely believed that the Giants are planning to add a star player or two this winter after just missing on Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa a year ago.

The Giants have also had some question marks around their defense in recent years, which happens to be Chapman’s specialty. After winning 107 games in 2021, the club fell to .500 in 2022, with glovework seeming to play a role in that. The club was collectively graded as being worth -53 Defensive Runs Saved that year, the worst mark in the majors, while their tally of -33 Outs Above Average was third worst. In 2023, they got the OAA into the top 10 but their DRS was still in the bottom third, which perhaps helped contribute to another underwhelming season.

Chapman has been one of the best defensive third basemen in the league during his career, having current counts of 92 DRS and 53 OAA since his 2017 debut. The former number is tops in the majors during that time frame while the latter number is second only to Nolan Arenado.

His bat has been a bit less consistent, particularly in 2023. He finished the season with a batting line of .240/.330/.424 and a wRC+ of 110, though in fairly uneven fashion, having high highs and low lows throughout the year. Some have framed his year as a scorching hot April followed by five tepid months, but Chapman was also quite strong in July, hitting .247/.402/.506 that month for a wRC+ of 154.

On August 13, when Chapman hurt his finger in a weight room incident, he was slashing .255/.346/.449 on the year for a wRC+ of 121, which was fairly in line with his 118 wRC+ from the year before. He tried playing through the finger issue, even going on the injured list for a time, but hit just .163/.250/.302 the rest of the way, diminishing his full season production.

Blaming the injury might be a charitable way to look at things but it stands to reason that the club that signs Chapman is probably going to be one that looks on him favorably and is more willing to overlook the final weeks of the 2023 campaign. His 28.4% strikeout rate for the year gives some pause but optimists can look to…

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