Could Matt Chapman Be an Attractive Piece at the Trade Deadline?

According to New York Post Insider Jon Heyman, the San Francisco Giants could entertain the possibility of trading Matt Chapman this summer.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JULY 4: Matt Chapman #26 of the San Francisco Giants rounds the bases after hitting a go ahead solo home run during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on July 4, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images)

He may not be headed to Arlington, Texas next week for the 2024 MLB All-Star Game, but third baseman Matt Chapman could still find himself on the move this month.

Given the parity that exists in the National League playoff race this season, no one knows for certain how Chapman’s team, the San Francisco Giants, intends to approach the upcoming trade deadline on July 30. Just hanging around .500, as they’ve done to this point, will likely be reason enough to remain open to any possibility.

But if the Giants do decide to sell, would Matt Chapman be worth shopping around to contending teams? Let’s explore.

The San Francisco Giants’ situation

Before we dive into Chapman’s case, specifically, let’s look at how San Francisco has managed to this point.

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Sitting at 44-47 as of July 8, the Giants are 11 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The division, however, was never in play for the Giants. That means their best chance to make the playoffs is by clinching one of the three Wild Card spots, to which San Francisco trails another division foe in the San Diego Padres by 3.5 games.

Not insurmountable by any means.

Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise fans that the Giants will likely position themselves more as ‘buyers’ at the trade deadline, at least according to New York Post Insider Jon Heyman.

Heyman’s logic makes sense: The Giants spent a ton of money last winter on free agents (including Chapman), and are expecting the return of multiple starting pitchers in the second half, including Robbie Ray, Alex Cobb and fellow Boras client Blake Snell. This would all seem to point towards a potential second-half surge for San Francisco.

The Giants also have a win-now manager in Bob Melvin, as well as a front office that has been trying to land a star player for years, but has repeatedly fallen short in those pursuits.

The bottom line? It’s clear that playoffs continue to be front of mind for this club.

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If things start going south and San Francisco does decide to sell, though, Heyman name dropped Matt Chapman, in particular.

Matt Chapman’s performance

Let’s set the record straight on Chapman: He’s always been an above-average hitter in this league, despite his (well-deserved) reputation as one of the premier defenders at third base.

Since debuting with the Oakland Athletics in 2017, Chapman has never finished a season with a wRC+ lower than 101. This season, in 379 plate appearances to date, the 31-year-old has a 116 wRC+.

We’ve heard all the criticisms of Chapman as a hitter, but they simply aren’t true, generally speaking.

Of course the veteran has holes in his offensive game: He strikes out a lot (23.2 K% in 2024), for instance. But his Baseball Savant hitter page is overwhelmingly red this season, especially in key underlying metrics such as hard-hit percentage (80th percentile), average exit velocity (91st percentile) and bat speed (98th percentile).

There’s not much to argue when it comes to the third baseman’s bat.

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Ironically, Chapman’s defense is what has lagged behind somewhat in 2024. If it holds, his -1 Outs Above Average (OAA) would be his lowest single-season defensive rating by far. However, other metrics like Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) like him much more (6 DRS in 2024), so we’re inclined to give Chapman the benefit of the doubt on the glove side given how strong his defense typically is at the hot corner.

All in all, Chapman’s total profile has led to a 2.4 fWAR in 2024, the highest of the infamous “Boras Four” that all signed deep into spring training while holding out for big money contracts. That four, for context, includes Chapman’s Giants teammate Blake Snell, Arizona Diamondbacks starter Jordan Montgomery and Chicago Cubs outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger.

Contract Considerations

Speaking of contracts, Matt Chapman has a relatively team-friendly one with the San Francisco Giants.

Money is always an obstacle when attempting to trade a player, but Chapman’s three-year, $54 million contract (including two player option years and a 2027 mutual option) shouldn’t be too difficult to move given that only one of those years is guaranteed.

However, a team that trades for Chapman must be in alignment with the player on those aforementioned option years. This undoubtedly complicates the third baseman’s trade chops, as a rental (if Chapman does decline his player option) would constitute a vastly different return package than a player with seasons of control.

Regardless of the contract details, though, the acquiring team would be receiving an elite defender with an above-average bat. That has value, and probably even more so given the large uncertainty around the buyer and seller dynamic this July.

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Is Matt Chapman an attractive trade piece this summer?

The short answer seems to be yes, player option years notwithstanding. And there’s one team that makes sense for him on a number of levels: The New York Yankees.

First, the Yankees have been rumored to be in the market for a third base upgrade, without a clear option at that position. In fact, the team has received a combined 1.1 fWAR from their third basemen in 2024.

With Chapman, New York would more than double its season output at the hot corner in one move.

The Yankees also need to clean up their defense and play tighter as a unit, which Chapman would help with immensely.

But New York isn’t the only contending team that would benefit from acquiring the 31-year-old: He would make a lot of sense for the Seattle Mariners (combined 1.2 fWAR from third base), the Kansas City Royals (combined 1 fWAR from third base) and the Chicago Cubs (if they decide to buy, 1.2 combined third base fWAR).

The larger point being? A market likely exists for Chapman if the San Francisco Giants opt to sell off later this month. It is just a matter of what they decide to do.

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