April 20, 2024

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Giants sign Matt Chapman

Giants sign Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman Returns to the Bay Area. The four-time Gold Glove Award winner has reportedly agreed to terms with the Giants on a three-year, $54 million guarantee. A Boras Corporation customer can cancel the subscription after each of the following two seasons.

He will earn $20 million this season, followed by back-to-back player options worth $18 million and $16 million. The contract has an average value of $18 million per year for competitive balance tax purposes. San Francisco will need to make a 40-man roster move once the deal is finalized.

Next month, Chapman, 31, will reunite with Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Bob Melvin. He's familiar with both since his early days with the A's. Chapman was selected in the first round by Oakland in 2014 and made his debut three years later. He has risen as one of the best players in the sport.

The Cal State Fullerton product put up a .255/.336/.503 batting line over his first three and a half seasons. He coupled that with the best third base defense in the American League. Chapman finished in the top 10 in AL MVP balloting in 2018 and 2019, earning Gold Medal honors both years.

Chapman's 2020 season was cut short due to a tear in his right hip. He underwent surgery in September of that year, causing him to stop working for a year. Although it wasn't obvious at the time, that injury proved to be a turning point in his career. His offensive production has not been the same since his return.

The right-handed hitter stumbled to a career-worst .210/.314/.403 line in 2021. The A's dealt him to the Blue Jays the following season. Chapman's offensive production rose slightly in Toronto, but he never found his 2018-19 form outside of last year's hot April.

After showing .229/.324/.433 in 2022, Chapman entered his bullpen season looking to re-establish himself as a middle-tier powerhouse. He started the year as the hottest hitter on the planet. Chapman is crushing a .384/.465/.687 clip through the end of April. Although he lowered his strikeout rate to 22.8% in the first month of the season, his whiffs picked up heading into the summer. A dismal May began what proved to be a disappointing end to the Jays' tenure.

Over his last 467 plate appearances, Chapman has hit .205/.298/.361 with a strikeout rate of nearly 30%. By the second half, he was often batting in the bottom third of the lineup. The Jays briefly sent him to the injured list in late August because of a sprained middle finger in his right hand. That will likely have a negative impact on his offense, but the bigger concern is that he hasn't maintained the strides in contact rate that he seemed to make early on.

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That provided a tough assessment for teams when he first hit the open market. Even if he's no longer an MVP-caliber player, Chapman is still an above-average regular player. He has struck out a walk in over 10% of his starts in each of the past three seasons. He reached out to 27 people in both 2021 and 22. That was down to 17 long balls a year ago, but that does not reflect a decline in the quality of his contact.

Chapman hit the ball harder than ever last season, averaging 93.5 mph exit velocity. He made solid contact (defined as 95+ mph) on 56.4% of his batted balls. This was the highest rate of any qualified hitter in the major leagues, narrowly beating out impact bats like his former teammate Matt Olson, Juan Soto, Ronald Acuña Jr, Rafael Devers And Shuhei Otani.

The balance remains on the other side of the ball. Chapman's defensive grades are no longer as eye-catching as they were earlier in his career, but he is still a plus at third base. Both Statcast and Defensive Runs Saved have rated him as an above-average defender in every season of his career. That includes an estimated three home runs better than average by Statcast and an excellent +12 DRS mark over 1,200 innings last season.

Defending the field has been an issue for the Giants, especially on the left side. San Francisco led shortstop for a long stretch Brandon Crawford Walk into free agency. They are ready to turn this position into a 22-year-old Marco Luciano. Current third baseman J.D. Davis He drew mixed reviews from defensive metrics last season. There is no doubt that Chapman will be an upgrade on that side of the ball. While there has been some speculation that the Giants might consider moving Chapman further up the defensive spectrum to shortstop, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle Reports He will remain in the hot corner at Oracle Park.

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San Francisco has targeted Chapman throughout the offseason, after being linked to him as early as mid-November. They were content to wait out the market because he was one of the few top free agents who stuck around well into spring training.

A $54 million guarantee is certainly not what his camp had in mind at the start of the offseason. Chapman reportedly turned down a 10-year, $150 million extension offer from the A's back in 2019. He reportedly passed on an offer from Toronto that would have exceeded $100 million at some point before he reached free agency. Whatever price he asked at the beginning of winter, it was not met. As is the case with our client Boras Corporation Cody BellingerChapman turned to a short-term deal that would give him the opportunity to return to the market the following off-season instead.

He was one of seven players who received and declined a qualifying offer in November. The QO would have been worth $20.325 million, which is much higher than what he is now poised to make next season. This contract structure is certainly better than accepting a qualifying offer — there's additional security built in via a player's options should he struggle or sustain an injury — but the end result could be similar. The most likely outcome is that he will take a $20 million salary in 2024 and retest the market next winter.

It remains to be seen whether he will be more kind to him next time. He will enter his age-32 season with a profile that relies heavily on defense. Chapman won't be eligible for another qualifying offer — players can't get that more than once in their career, according to the CBA — but he's unlikely to be the best free agent at the position, as he was this winter. Alex Bregman Next year's third base class headlines, which will also include Davis.

The Giants are giving up their second-highest pick in the upcoming draft (No. 51 overall) and $500,000 in international signing bonus space to add a player who declined a QO. The Jays were one of eight teams that paid the luxury tax last season, so their compensation is minimal. They will receive an additional draft pick after the fourth round, which is approximately 136th overall.

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It's a bigger penalty for the Giants than Toronto's compensation. It's one of the things the Giants are happy to pay to acquire Chapman for a much lower price than they expected going into the offseason. (MLBTR projected he would receive a six-year, $150 million pact at the start of the winter.) The contract pushes player salaries for 2024 to roughly $183 million, as calculated by List resource. Their luxury tax liability is about $231 million, keeping them $6 million below next year's threshold.

If they want to avoid CBT, that won't leave much room for in-season acquisitions. They're probably relieved to have surpassed the threshold for the first time since 2017. San Francisco has been linked with Blake Snell (and to a much lesser extent) Jordan Montgomery. They still clearly need help in the rotation, especially after their projected No. 5 starter Tristan Beck He underwent surgery on Friday to treat an aneurysm.

Waiving a draft option to sign Chapman to a contract that allows him to opt out after one season is the clearest move to win now in the offseason in San Francisco. They also brought Jung Ho Lee To take the center of the field, Jorge Soler At designated hitter, it occurred Jordan Hicks to a four-year agreement to move into the rotation. Revamping the lineup to this extent without adding more certainty behind it Logan WebbHicks and the Apprentice Kyle Harrison It seems unlikely.

Davis was set to make a $6.9 million salary in his final season of arbitration and just lost his spot in the starting lineup. Soler W Wilmer Flores In front of him as right-handed hitters who will pitch in at DH at first base, respectively. Flipping Davis to a team in need of third base help before Opening Day could free up spending space for the Giants and appears to be the best outcome for him personally. It's very likely that more will come to Oracle Park in the next three weeks.

John Heyman of the New York Post The agreement, opt-out and salary split were first reported. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.