Matt Chapman will not be returning to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2024, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason and ripe for the New York Yankees to entertain adding to their infield.
Should the Yankees Make Matt Chapman Their New 3B Over DJ LeMahieu?
According to Matthew Postins of Fan Nation, Chapman is seeking big bucks as he turned down his $20.35 million qualifying offer in pursuit of a nine-figure deal.
The Yankees have DJ LeMahieu currently manning third base. He and Chapman produced at nearly identical levels in 2023. Chapman’s .240/.330/.424 slash line barely nudged out LeMahieu’s .243/.327/.390 line. They both hit for the same amount of power as well.
Though Chapman committed four times as many errors (12) as LeMahieu (3) and sported a .968 fielding percentage compared to LeMahieu’s .995 line at second and third, the numbers don’t tell the whole story, as Chapman was able to take home a 2023 Gold Glove award.
Age barely plays a factor, with Chapman, 30, only three years younger than the 33-year-old LeMahieu.
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How the Money Stacks Up For a Potential Chapman Chase
LeMahieu is already in the midst of a six-year, $90 million deal he signed with the Yankees back in the winter of 2021. Chapman is targeting a figure north of that number, meaning the Yankees would likely have to move on from their current infielder to make room for him.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is already on record as stating that he does not want to exceed the $300 million threshold in player salaries, as it’s not been a mold that the most recent handful of champions have dug themselves into in order to win.
The Yankees could opt to go a bit younger with a slightly stronger glove in Chapman, but with the litany of other moves they are looking to make, particularly to the outfield, this may not fall in line with their financial and on-field needs.