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Matt Chapman Buzz Grows, Another Team Joins the Race With Spring Training Underway

Published 02/20/2024, 2:00 PM EST

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It’s February 20, and the Boras Four remain on the market. The longer they stay, the more speculation he has. Among those four, it’s Matt Chapman whose links are the most varied. From the San Francisco Giants to the Chicago Cubs, there’s no clear favorite in the slugger’s race. Perhaps that’s why his free agency seems so interesting; it’s an open field, and anyone can pounce on this massive opportunity. It looks like someone has noticed this opportunity. 

Chapman’s free agency is quite different from the rest of the Scott Boras clients. For instance, while the rest three are coming off great seasons, Chapman’s just had a middling 2023. Even though he won his fourth Gold Glove, things weren’t bright for the slugger. But there’s a team that knows how good he can be and is willing to take another chance at him. But will the sailors find the dream island this time?

The Seattle Mariners and Matt Chapman connection 

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The last two seasons have seen the decline of Matt Chapman, the hitter. His entire Oakland A’s stint was filled with tremendous slugging and extraordinary defense, but Toronto wasn’t so good for him. However, it doesn’t matter to the Seattle Mariners, who, according to The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, “The Mariners have discussed the possibility of adding Chapman to fill the starting third-base spot previously held by Eugenio Suarez.” 

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Chapman slashed .240/.330/.424 with 17 home runs in 2023. His biggest contribution, however, was to his defense as the third baseman. Here, Chapman posted a.968 fielding percentage and posted 114 putouts and 253 assists. For a team like the Mariners that has no full-time third baseman in their squad, these are herculean numbers. 

During this offseason, the Sailors have traded a bunch of their players. Among them was their third baseman, Eugenio Suarez, whom they traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Seby Lopez and RHP Carlos Vargas. The team is currently hoping to cover this position with its utility players. Perhaps that’s why Chapman looks like such a great fit. 

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The Mariners had tried to trade Chapman in 2022 as well but failed then. Even this time, there’s a big obstacle to their pursuit: cost.

High costs could affect the sailor’s chance

One thing has been clear since the beginning of this offseason: Scott Boras rates his clients very highly. The story is similar for Chapman, who is adamant about a big deal despite a below-average 2023. On the other hand, the Mariners are known for their cost-saving tactics. The team has cleared a large part of its roster this season to clear the payroll. 

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So this is like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant—an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force. It sure will be interesting to see how this story progresses in the future. Will Chapman be the one to set the ball rolling for the Boras Four?

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Written by:

Sanskar Dubey

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“Rigidity leads to demise, while adaptability paves the path to vitality." Driven by a deep passion for sports, I’m glad I found baseball. Now serving as an MLB writer at EssentiallySports, I love to write about the thrilling tussle between the National League and American League throughout the season, although I may have a fondness for a particular Yankees icon named Alex Rodriguez.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal