Blue Jays Matt Chapman Begins Contract Year With Torrid Start

Pending free agent Matt Chapman is off to a great start with the Blue Jays, leading the league in multiple batting categories.

Blue Jays
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Matt Chapman #26 and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrate after their MLB game victory over the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 17, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays are a team that is all set on not only making the playoffs, but trying to bring a World Series championship back North of the border for the first time since 1993. While the Jays’ roster is full of talented players that are locked up for the foreseeable future, there is one player currently slated for free agency at the end of the year that is having an incredible start to the season.

Matt Chapman, the Blue Jays’ third baseman, is in his second campaign with Toronto after being acquired just prior to the 2022 season in exchange for four prospects. While the two sides quickly struck a deal to buy out his arbitration years, Chapman is currently slated to test free agency following the 2023 season.

With Guerrero Jr. moving to first base a few seasons ago, Chapman locked down the hot corner since his arrival, with the former A’s third baseman coming to the AL East with a pedigree built on being one of the best defensive-minded players in the game. The California product has three Gold Glove Awards, two Platinum Glove Awards, and owns an 80 DRS and a 49 Outs Above Average since 2017, which ranks second behind Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado.

At the plate, Chapman authored a .757 OPS with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs during his first year with the Blue Jays, ending the year with a 114 OPS+ and a 3.5 bWAR. Heading into the 2023 campaign, the righty-batter owns a .240/.329/.469 career slash line, with 138 home runs with a .797 OPS.

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Blue Jays Matt Chapman off to a Great Start

Represented by super-agent Scott Boras, Chapman is poised to head to free agency this offseason and will be one of the premier third basemen available. With both Manny Machado and Rafael Devers inking long-term deals this winter, Chapman will be the prime target for any team looking to upgrade third base if the Jays and their third baseman are unable to sign a long-term deal prior.

While the season is only just over a week old, Chapman is off to a hot start at the plate, going 16-for-35 (.457) with nine RBIs, which leads the Toronto Blue Jays squad. Chapman, Guerrero and Bichette each have 16 knocks to start the season, sharing the MLB-lead for most hits.

Chapman has also authored a 1.243 OPS through nine games, with the former first-round pick also amassing a league-high seven doubles in the process. There is still lots of baseball left in the season, but Chapman is off to a great start in a contract year.

Considering the cards are still in the air as to whether the Jays and Chapman are both willing to find common ground on a long-term deal, the former A’s third baseman has mentioned he wants to stay in Toronto for the foreseeable future, “I know the Blue Jays enjoy having me here and want to continue having me here… I know I want to continue to be here and be a part of this team.”