The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t ready to throw in the towel in their pursuit to retain free agent third baseman Matt Chapman, reports Jon Heyman of The New York Post.
On Thursday, Heyman noted the franchise is “making a big push to keep Chapman,” who met with interested suitors in Arizona at last week’s GM meetings.
The San Francisco Giants are viewed as a potential fit for the 2019 All-Star because of their desire to acquire an impact infielder. Plus, he has previous ties to skipper Bob Melvin, who managed the four-time Gold Glove Award winner for five seasons from 2017-21 across the bay in Oakland.
Chapman turned down a $20.325 million qualifying offer earlier this week, and he also reportedly rejected a lucrative extension from the Blue Jays prior to becoming a free agent earlier this offseason, per TSN’s Scott Mitchell.
The exact details of Toronto’s offer to Chapman are unknown, but Mitchell believes it exceeded $100 million and would’ve spanned four or five years.
At the forefront of a thin free-agent class for position players, the 30-year-old third baseman is considered the top available target at his position, and losing him would deal a major blow to the Blue Jays’ roster for next season.
“When you look at their organization leadership-wise, what he means to them in a defensive and offensive mould, particularly with the home runs hard to come by at that ballpark for a very good offensive lineup, having players on the dirt that give you Gold Glove defence and give you middle of the lineup, 25 home-run power, is very necessary to their success,” Chapman’s agent Scott Boras said at the GM meetings.
Coming over via trade from the Athletics in 2021, Chapman spent the last two seasons in Toronto, posting 44 home runs, 130 RBI and a .234/.327.429 slash line. He won his first Gold Glove with the franchise earlier this fall.
Despite an explosive offensive start in 2023, which included a .384/.465/.687 line with 20 extra-base hits over the first month, Chapman struggled mightly over the final five months, serving as a below-average hitter the rest of the way.
The Blue Jays will receive a compensatory draft pick after the fourth round in next year’s draft if the veteran third baseman signs elsewhere this winter.