Earlier this week, the Toronto Blue Jays signed veteran bat Justin Turner to a one-year, $13 million pact. Given how the Blue Jays have operated this offseason, are they motivated to resign oft-connected SF Giants target Matt Chapman?
Are the Blue Jays motivated to re-sign oft-connected SF Giants target after latest move?
February is finally here and spring training begins in just a few weeks. Despite this, some of the top free agents remain unsigned. Not surprisingly, many of those free agents are represented by Scott Boras, who often waits out the market with the hopes of landing the largest payday possible. More often than not, it works and that is good for baseball.
I do not know if the slow offseason is necessarily good for baseball, but Boras is looking out for his clients more than the optics of the offseason. He represents free agents Matt Chapman, Blake Snell, Cody Bellinger, and Jordan Montgomery.
Chapman has often been connected to the Giants this winter and been seen as the best fit more than once. It feels like there is a sense of inevitability between the veteran third baseman and the Giants until he signs. There are a lot of reasons why the Giants would be interested, but there is a possibility that he returns to Toronto as well. Maybe.
Chapman rejected a qualifying offer earlier this offseason, meaning that if a team besides the Blue Jays signs him, then that team will lose a top pick and international bonus pool money. That penalty is slightly different based on the team but that is the general outline of it. This gives the Blue Jays a bit of leverage as teams are usually reluctant to sign players who have rejected a qualifying offer.
In fact, the Giants have not done so in nearly a decade. Are the penalties surrounding a qualifying offer easier to digest if a player like Chapman signs a long-term deal? I think that is the case.
Despite the fact that Toronto is the incumbent team, it feels like they are prepared to go in a different direction. The Turner addition does not necessarily change the equation as he has seen declining playing time at the hot corner in recent seasons. That just so happens to be the same position that Chapman plays.
However, if you begin to outline how the Blue Jays could approach the rest of the infield alignment, there are just not many at-bats to go at this point. Of course, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will handle the duties at first base and could share time at DH along with Turner.
Davis Schneider will take over at second base after an impressive debut in which he tallied a 1.008 OPS in 141 plate appearances. He will be sharing the middle of the infield with Bo Bichette, who is firmly entrenched at the team's shortstop.
Third base is still a bit open. That said, Toronto has plenty of options. The Blue Jays signed Isiah Kiner-Falefa to a two-year, $15 million deal earlier this offseason. Perhaps, he is not penciled in as the everyday third baseman, but he will take some at-bats there along with Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, and Ernie Clement. Biggio and Espinal are better suited for the right side of the infield, but over the course of a year, they will see some time at third base.
This is not to say that the Blue Jays have consciously moved on from Chapman. They were interested in an extension with him last year but teams are understandably skeptical of contract terms that could include six years and $150 million. Toronto does have a contingency plan in case he does sign elsewhere.
The Giants are not too dissimilar in this regard. They have options at every infield position. Third base is not a need, but it is one area where they could improve the roster in 2024. They have to consider whether improving the roster in 2024 by adding Chapman outweighs the possibility that his contract will not look good by the end of it.
There is an obvious fit with the Giants and Chapman. The same could be said for the Blue Jays. To a lesser extent, the Chicago Cubs make sense. Despite the fact that the 30-year-old has put together a strong career up until this point, all of his interested suitors have options at third base. For Toronto, they could go either way but the at-bats are drying up quickly.