Read at MLB Trade Rumors
Matt Chapman, a top free agent option for teams in need of a third baseman, remains unsigned despite Spring Training underway. Chapman's offensive numbers declined in the 2023 season, but his value lies in his defense.
Chapman started the 2023 campaign on a blistering offensive pace that once looked as if it could vault him towards the $200MM mark. He tailed off as the calendar flipped to May, however, most often finding himself in the bottom third of the Toronto batting order by year's end.
Chapman's defensive skills have been consistently strong throughout his career, earning him four Gold Glove awards and positive ratings by defensive metrics like DRS and Statcast. However, his age (soon turning 31) and his reliance on his defense have made teams hesitant to make a long-term commitment.
A long-term bet on a player who soon turns 31 and derives much of his value from his defense has probably scared off a few teams, particularly since Chapman would require draft pick forfeiture after declining a qualifying offer.