The stellar left side of the Athletics’ infield might not stay intact for much longer. Shortstop Marcus Semien is due to reach free agency next offseason. The two sides have shown interest in an extension, but nothing has come together thus far. There’s less pressure to lock up third baseman Matt Chapman, who won’t be eligible to reach free agency until after 2023. However, Chapman’s hoping for a long-term deal all the same, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
“I’ve been telling them: I’m ready. If the offer’s right, I’m willing to sign with the A’s,” Chapman told Slusser. “I want to be here.”
Talks on a new contract haven’t occurred recently, Chapman informed Slusser, but he noted, “Usually those things pick up more in spring training.”
To this point, Oakland hasn’t signed anyone to a larger guarantee than the $66MM pact it handed one of its former third basemen, Eric Chavez, in 2004. They’ll need to pony up far more for Chapman if they’re going to keep him under wraps for the foreseeable future.
The 25th overall pick of the A’s in 2014, Chapman has emerged as one of the foremost players in baseball since he debuted in the majors in 2017, owing to a combination of defensive wizardry and terrific offense. Going back to 2018, Chapman’s first full season, just five players (a group you may have heard of in Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Alex Bregman, Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon) have outdone Chapman’s 12.8 fWAR. He batted .263/.348/.507 with 60 home runs over 1,286 plate appearances during that span, and the two-time Platinum Glove winner ranked first in baseball in Defensive Runs Saved (47) and third in Ultimate Zone Rating (25.7).
Chapman’s clearly either a complete player or close to it, so it should be a boon for the A’s that he doesn’t want to play for another team. It remains to be seen whether low-budget Oakland will pay the necessary amount for the superstar Scott Boras client, but moving into a new stadium in the near future – which is the A’s goal – would help matters.