3. Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Chapman has quickly become the face of the A’s. However, history has proven again and again that this title is rarely a long-term position.
The A’s have traded away or seen a number of their great players walk in free agency. To their credit, they have drafted and developed plenty of great players, but it is frustrating when the fanbase realizes that said player will be wearing a different uniform soon enough.
Hopefully, this is not the case with Chapman. The third baseman has appeared in parts of three seasons with the Yellow and Green, and he has quickly emerged as one of the top third basemen in baseball as he has been worth 19.8 WAR since his debut.
At the plate, Chapman swings a solid bat. Across 1,612 plate appearances, the right-handed bat has generated a .257/.341/.500 line (127 OPS+) with 74 home runs, 199 RBI, and 241 runs scored.
With this being said, he may provide even more value with the glove. Chapman has won the American League Gold Glove at third base in each of the last two seasons.
The defensive metrics love Chapman’s work at third base. Throughout his career, the 26-year-old has been worth 79 DRS and 11.2 UZR at the hot corner. In each of the last two seasons, he has been worth 30 DRS or more per season. He is the only player in baseball who can say that.
Beyond the metrics, Chapman’s defense passes the eye test with flying colors.
Given his relative lack of service time, Chapman will not become a free agent until 2024. This is good news for A’s fans as they still have plenty of time to watch him blast home runs and make incredible plays.
However, the A’s will have a difficult decision to make with Chapman. Chapman’s quick rise to stardom means that locking up the 26-year-old would be costly, but it could be a worthwhile investment as well.
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The A’s should consider discussing an extension sooner rather than later with their third baseman. Given that he is not yet arbitration-eligible, a contract that buys out his arbitration years, as well as one or two years of free agency, could be the best for both parties.
This way, the A’s lock him up during his peak years while still allowing Chapman to score a sizable contract down the road.
Odds: 45 Percent
The boat may have sailed on Semien, and Olson does not play a premium position, so if the A’s could only extend one from their nucleus, it should be Chapman. He is the face of the franchise and looks to be a valuable player for years to come.
The sooner the Oakland Athletics broach this subject to Chapman, the better chance they have at locking up their star third baseman.