Third base was an interesting spot on the New York Mets roster last season. Jonathan Villar played the most games at the position with 97. Projected starter J.D. Davis was battling injuries for most of the year so he only played 50 games at third base.
Ever since David Wright retired, the Mets haven’t had anyone really take control of the position.
This offseason presents a great opportunity for the Mets to acquire their third baseman of the future.
Jonathan Villar is an impending free agent. He was solid in his role last season, but do the Mets really want to commit to him playing an everyday role at third base? I wouldn’t.
Villar was a slightly above-average hitter but had a -4 DRS at third base in 2021. I’d like him back in a part-time role but wouldn’t want him playing every day.
J.D. Davis has three years of team control left and would be expected to take the everyday role at third base if no changes are made with this roster. Davis has shown promise with the bat but hasn’t really been the hitter he was in 2019 in each of the past two seasons.
He has a major hole in his swing up in the zone and it seems pitchers are learning to attack that. Davis was struggling down the stretch and was eventually replaced on a full-time basis in the starting lineup by Villar.
When he’s not swinging the bat well, Davis is a negative value player. He had a -7 DRS in limited action at third base. He’s simply not playable at the position.
The Mets have an elite defender at shortstop in Francisco Lindor locked up for the next 10 years. I think the ideal player to play alongside Lindor on the left side of the infield is Matt Chapman.
Chapman is coming off of a down year offensively in which he slashed .210/.314/.403 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI. While the production offensively was not as strong as what we’d normally see from Chapman, he’s still one of if not the best defenders at third base in all of baseball.
Chapman has won two Gold Gloves and two Platinum Gloves signaling that he’s among the best of the best defensively.
In 2018, Chapman slashed .278/.356/.508 with 24 home runs and 68 RBI. In 2019, he slashed .249/.342/.506 with 36 home runs and 91 RBI. That’ll play! Those offensive stats along with his absurd glove put him in the conversation for one of the best third basemen in the game.
The bat has taken a step back in the last couple of years but I would guess getting out of Oakland which is known for being a pitcher-friendly park and giving him a fresh start in New York would do him wonders.
Chapman wouldn’t have to hit third or fourth, he’d hit fifth or sixth in the Mets lineup.
Chapman has two years of team control left on his deal. With the Athletics letting their manager Bob Melvin leave to manage the Padres without even getting compensation, I would bet they’ll begin to rebuild.
Guys like Chapman and Matt Olson will be on the block for contenders to pounce on.
Chapman will be significantly cheaper dollar-wise than a free agent like Kris Bryant and gives the Mets a chance to splurge on a different position or two in free agency.
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The Mets have two very highly touted third base prospects in Brett Baty and Mark Vientos waiting in the wings. They can trade one of them and land a premier third baseman to play in Queens for the next while. The 28-year-old is a great fit in blue and orange.