MLB insider explains why Matt Chapman is a fit for the Mets next year
By Tim Boyle
Third baseman Matt Chapman has been someone New York Mets fans have had interest in for quite some time. He has gotten off to a great start for the Toronto Blue Jays this season after a year that wasn’t so kind.
Chapman has made a career out of playing stellar defense, hitting big handfuls of home runs, and striking out way too much. We shouldn’t expect all that much to change for him in 2023 after he gets a full season under his belt. Regarded as one of the top free agents this offseason, MLB insider Jon Heyman sees him as a fit for multiple teams, including your Mets.
But why would the Mets pursue him when they have Brett Baty rocketing baseballs in the minors? Heyman’s explanation is pretty simple as to why Steve Cohen could greenlight this.
Mets rumors connecting them to Matt Chapman are speculative right now but they make sense
Heyman goes back to the Mets’ pursuit of Carlos Correa. Having him at third base long-term would have completely eliminated Baty from ever taking over the position. He has circled back to this and the team’s doubts about Baty becoming their third baseman of the future.
We’ve been here before. When it looked Correa was coming to Queens, shifting Baty to left field seemed inevitable. The team has held him back from the majors this year citing his defense at the position as the main reason why. Chapman, meanwhile, is one of the best defenders in the game. If defense is of the utmost importance to the Mets, it definitely seems as if Chapman could become a primary target for them next offseason.
Heyman’s explanation is pretty simple. The Mets went after a big third base target in the past. What’s to stop them from doing it again?
Adding another layer to this thought is how dry the free agent market has become. Players like Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, and others have already signed extensions. Shohei Ohtani is still likely to become available. What if he doesn’t sign with the Mets? Where do they find their big splash?
Chapman would be an expensive yet far more reasonably priced player for the Mets to chase. Next year’s free agency class isn’t quite as dazzling as it could’ve been before those contract extensions. We’d have to expect the Mets to make at least one major move. Chapman might make the most sense.
For Baty, this means a move to left field. Mark Canha has a team option for the 2024 season. At this point, it’s debatable whether or not they should pick it up. Having him around as a part-time player wouldn’t be so bad. After all, he can play multiple positions and even start against lefties regularly. I wouldn’t be opposed to this. What’s the difference between having a pricey player on the bench and a guy making league minimum in the starting lineup?
Baty’s progress at third base this year will determine whether or not Chapman actually does become a realistic target of theirs. I’d expect another club to overpay for him and the Mets to get a little creative as they did with moving Correa to third base.