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Minor Leaguers to get a Raise

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Twins Offseason Trade Target: Matt Chapman

Matt Chapmans is one of the best defensive players in the American League and his offense isn’t too shabby either. He certainly isn’t without flaws, but the Athletics are trying to cut payroll this winter and dealing Chapman could save them some money as he gets more expensive through the arbitration process. Would the Twins consider a franchise-altering move to add someone like Chapman?
Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
What would it take to get Chapman?
Chapman was an All-Star in 2019 while hitting 36 home runs and 36 doubles with an .848 OPS. He won his second Gold Glove Award at third base and it might not have been close. Chapman is in a close conversation with Nolan Arenado as the best defensive third baseman in all of baseball and Chapman could be in the discussion as one of the league’s best overall defenders.

Minnesota also has one of the league’s best defenders, but he has been injured over the last couple seasons. Byron Buxton won the Platinum Glove back in 2017, but injuries have kept him off the field over parts of the last two seasons. Could the giant Oakland outfield be a better home for the budding superstar? He has more service time than Chapman and he can be a free agent in 2023.

Chapman is nearly a year older than Buxton, but they have nearly the same amount of games played at the big-league level thanks to Buxton’s DL stints. Chapman might fit with the Twins, but it will take more than Buxton to land Chapman in a Twins uniform. Minnesota would likely need to add a prospect or two to the equation to get Oakland to consider a deal.

Minnesota’s Line-Up Ramifications
Adding Chapman to the line-up would mean Miguel Sano would no longer be needed at third base. This would allow the Twins to shift him to first base and designated hitter on a more permanent rotation. Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzalez would continue to get at-bats at those positions next season, but this would allow for some positional depth at all those spots, especially since none of those players played a full-season last year.

If Buxton was out of the equation, Max Kepler would continue to play center field during the 2020 campaign. Then in 2021, Royce Lewis would be given the opportunity to play there and Kepler could slide back to a corner outfield role. Lewis’ defensive future has been in question over the last couple offseasons and this year’s Arizona Fall League only brought that more to the forefront.

One of Minnesota’s biggest defensive weaknesses this offseason might be third base. Adding Chapman would take away from an area of strength and add to an area of weakness. The cost of adding Chapman might be steep, but the Twins would have him for multiple years with the opportunity to offer him an extension.

What do you think Chapman would be worth in a trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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86 Comments

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Hosken Bombo Disco
Dec 03 2019 01:01 PM

This would be a lot more convincing if the two quotations weren't from people within the Twins organization who have a vested interest in maintaining the belief that Lewis will stick at short.I'm not saying Borrego and Zoll are being dishonest, simply that there is no reason for them to make any sort of statement about Lewis not being able to stick at short.The first evidence we will get that the Twins no longer view Lewis as a shortstop is when he no longer plays the vast majority of his games there.

True, those are team employees but they seem authentic to me. Very little to no hedging, none of the “maybe this, maybe that, wait and see..”

In any case, I felt that those direct quotes—by close up observers who see Lewis every day—should more than counterbalance out-of-date flat statements from national sportswriters (granted who do talk to scouts and insiders).

Hey, if Lewis ends up in center, great. We don’t talk about trading Lewis and moving Buxton to short. :) but for now I just think it’s way too early to be casting doubt on Lewis’s ability at shortstop like we did with Polanco.
    • Major League Ready and wabene like this

 

Exactly this. You just don’t trade players you will use for the playoff run next year and all of those players are on the table to be key contributor. I mean Kirilloff could have a better bat than Chapman in 2020 let alone the future. Lewis better defense and better potential. Hell even Brent Rooker might have better offensive numbers than Chapman next year. I’d center around Rooker and Enlow and maybe another lower prospect or 2

 

I don't believe there are adequate words in the English language to describe how much I disagree with this take. Usually the Germans have good words for extreme emotions. I'll see if Kepler can help me out.

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Twins33 and 3 others like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Dec 03 2019 01:03 PM

The jury must still be out or Lewis wouldn't have spent so much time in Arizona playing CF & 3B.

That team had other shortstops and Lewis was more athletic than them, so Lewis was able to play all over the diamond. Why can’t that be the answer? :)
    • h2oface, chpettit19, MN_ExPat and 2 others like this

 

I'm not talking about him outperforming Chapman (or any of them, for that matter), simply responding to your assertion that none of the three would be a key contributor to a playoff race in 2020.  I'm also not saying any of the three will be key contributors, just that there is a very easy path for all three of them to appear on the roster, at which point they could play their way into contributing.Kiriloff struggled through injuries, but still had a 121 wRC+, Lewis just OPS'd .975 in the AFL, and Rooker had an OPS of .933 in AAA.

 

If the A's were willing to take Kiriloff/Lewis + Rooker + Duran/Alcala for Chapman, I'd do that for sure, but as a number of posters have mentioned, it seems like it would take a lot more for the A's to part with a 6 WAR player making 6 figures.You'd probably have to make them a godfather offer, something like Arraez + Lewis/Kiriloff + Graterol/Balazovic, and even that might not be enough.After 2020 however, you might be able to do something.

The post I responded to specifically mentioned outperforming Chapman, and being a "key contributor" to a playoff race.

 

As for the rest, I certainly would love to see the Twins trade for Chapman, but at no point in this thread have I given any indication I think that's even a remote possibility. I don't...at all. Why would Oakland do that? 

 

But if they were...I certainly don't agree that any of Lewis, Rooker or Kirilloff would stand in the way, or be too hefty a price. 

    • h2oface likes this

 

It would be bold to say Kirilloff or any other Twins minor league prospects is a good as Alonso, Tatis, or Robles(top rookies this year), and none of them were as good as Chapman.

 

 

I think Tatis, as a 20 year old, with his .317 batting average, .969 OPS, 16 steals, and 22 HRs in 300+ at bats is out of this conversation. 

 

If WAR is the one and only measuring stick, his 4.2 in 80 some games is right there with Chapman.

 

I will acknowledge that he did make a lot of errors, but SS and 3b aren't the same gig.

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nicksaviking
Dec 03 2019 04:28 PM

 

I think Tatis, as a 20 year old, with his .317 batting average, .969 OPS, 16 steals, and 22 HRs in 300+ at bats is out of this conversation. 

 

If WAR is the one and only measuring stick, his 4.2 in 80 some games is right there with Chapman.

 

I will acknowledge that he did make a lot of errors, but SS and 3b aren't the same gig.

 

Kirilloff didn't exactly crush the ball last year. A prospect's rankings are all on a knife's edge anyway. If everyone were to rank the Twins corner bat prospects like Kirilloff, Larnich, Rooker, Raley, Blankenhorn and Wiel, everyone will put Kirillof at the top of the list. But when it all plays out in the end, he's probably got no better than a 40% shot at actually being the best of that bunch. 

 

Bottom line is, the Twins have too many similar prospects for too few positions, and it's always going to be a crap shoot as to which ones, if any, will be useful MLBers. If the Twins like an established player from another team and that team wants one of these such players, let them take their pick, the odds are against them that they'll chose the right one in the long run.

    • Mike Sixel, MN_ExPat and Aerodeliria like this
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Homer Hanky
Dec 03 2019 04:33 PM

Chap for Bux + Gordon ?

 

Chap for Bux + Gordon ?

 

Why would Oakland do this? Chapmann costs less than Buxton, and has an extra year of control. He's never been hurt, and he's better than Buxton.

 

Buxton, Lewis, and the SP in the minors the As most want....that's what it would cost.

    • cmoss84 and Aerodeliria like this

 

It would be bold to say Kirilloff or any other Twins minor league prospects is a good as Alonso, Tatis, or Robles(top rookies this year), and none of them were as good as Chapman.

Pete Alonso is easily better than Chapman and its not even close.  He had a .941 OPS in his rookie year and simply passed the eye test.  Tatis was also better.  .969 OPS and high batting average as a 20 year old! I'll give you Robles, but he still projects to be better than Chapman and the nationals would never take that trade.  You can't just consider past stats but also you need to look at the scouting report of how they will do going forward.  Chapman certainly seems above average but I wouldn't call him a star.

 

Why would Oakland do this? Chapmann costs less than Buxton, and has an extra year of control. He's never been hurt, and he's better than Buxton.

 

Buxton, Lewis, and the SP in the minors the As most want....that's what it would cost.

 

It's almost like people are trying to destroy the core of the team.  Why on earth would you ever consider that type of an offer?  Aren't you trying to compete for the playoffs and would be giving away key contributors, all three of which project to be more talented than Chapman? I mean if we offered Buxton for him, I would want their top 2 prospects to even start considering it.

Forget Chapman. $ign Rendon.

    • SQUIRREL and AZTwin like this

 

Forget Chapman. $ign Rendon.

 

Agreed.  Rendon is a significant upgrade from Chapman.  

 

It's almost like people are trying to destroy the core of the team.  Why on earth would you ever consider that type of an offer?  Aren't you trying to compete for the playoffs and would be giving away key contributors, all three of which project to be more talented than Chapman? I mean if we offered Buxton for him, I would want their top 2 prospects to even start considering it.

 

I wouldn't....I said that is what it would cost.....

 

You can't be serious. Chapmann is cheaper than Buxton, healthier, and better. And has another year of control.....

    • SQUIRREL, Twins33, Major League Ready and 3 others like this

I wouldn't....I said that is what it would cost.....

You can't be serious. Chapmann is cheaper than Buxton, healthier, and better. And has another year of control.....


Healthier maybe. You can’t promise that going forward. Buxton is elite though in center and his offense showed real promise. His OPS is already pretty close to Chapman. He has far more speed on the base paths and create far more. He is also trending up. Chapman seems like a regression candidate
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sweetmusicviola16
Dec 03 2019 06:09 PM

When Buxton does leave the Twins, whether as an FA or by trade, Oakland is where I'd like to see him land. It would remind me of one of my all-time favorites. Rickey Henderson. Too bad Buxton can't stay on the field. He'd maybe be as great as Rickey was.

Chapman is awesome but I would use all trade capital to try and get front line pitching. Sign Donaldson or open the vault and get Rendon to play 3rd but trade for pitching.

Outfield is a strength to trade from but I hate to sell low on Buck, I could accept it for pitching though.
    • Twins33 and Aerodeliria like this

 

The jury must still be out or Lewis wouldn't have spent so much time in Arizona playing CF & 3B. 

I think the jury is still out on any player in A-ball, by definition.

 

Heck, the jury is still out on Polanco, who started the All-Star game at SS.

    • In My La-Z-boy likes this
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Homer Hanky
Dec 03 2019 07:05 PM

 

Why would Oakland do this? Chapmann costs less than Buxton, and has an extra year of control. He's never been hurt, and he's better than Buxton.

 

Buxton, Lewis, and the SP in the minors the As most want....that's what it would cost.

 

I can get on board with that. Good thot! 

 

Not in1.5 million years. If you want to improve infield defense get a real SS and let Polanco play second

 

I have said this countless times. Polanco needs to find a new position.

    • Aerodeliria likes this
I just watched Chapman’s highlights to see if there was something I was missing and I really don’t see what you guys all see. A lot of his homeruns are going to turn into pop outs. Nothing really exciting with the bat. Defense is good but there’s been plenty of good defensive 3B. Range isn’t the best and it’s not going to get any better. I would say that former Athletic 3B, Eric Chavez was quite significantly better than what Chapman is today and based on the type of posts here you would think the opposite. It’s bizarre

 

Pete Alonso is easily better than Chapman and its not even close.  He had a .941 OPS in his rookie year and simply passed the eye test.  Tatis was also better.  .969 OPS and high batting average as a 20 year old! I'll give you Robles, but he still projects to be better than Chapman and the nationals would never take that trade.  You can't just consider past stats but also you need to look at the scouting report of how they will do going forward.  Chapman certainly seems above average but I wouldn't call him a star.

I was trying to say it would be bold to say Kirilloff or any other Twins prospects will have a rookie year compared to those three, not how good they could become, and none of those three were as good as Chapman last year overall which I don't believe is really up for debate.Based on fan graphs and Baseball American Chapman was one of the best 8-11 non-pitchers in all of baseball.

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Aerodeliria
Dec 04 2019 01:19 AM

Yeah, unfortunately, I don't see this scenario playing out. The A's would scoff at getting Buxton for Chapman. Buxton cannot stay healthy long enough to complete the trade. He'd probably jam his finger while trying to sign the contract. There is no upside for the A's in such a trade.

 

Four years of control would cost the Twins plenty. I would say two prospects of high quality and Rosario, or they would hang up the phone.

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Aerodeliria
Dec 04 2019 01:31 AM

 

Why would Oakland do this? Chapmann costs less than Buxton, and has an extra year of control. He's never been hurt, and he's better than Buxton.

 

Buxton, Lewis, and the SP in the minors the As most want....that's what it would cost.

At the very least...and I am not sure they want Buxton at all.

 

Pete Alonso is easily better than Chapman and its not even close. 

that is factually incorrect. Chapman has won the Platinum Glove Award two years running. Alonso had a better year offensively but was below average fielder at 1st base and saying somebody is better without taking into consideration the half of the game isn't they way to judge players. They were both awesome and I would take either on the Twins.

that is factually incorrect. Chapman has won the Platinum Glove Award two years running. Alonso had a better year offensively but was below average fielder at 1st base and saying somebody is better without taking into consideration the half of the game isn't they way to judge players. They were both awesome and I would take either on the Twins.


It wasn’t even close offensively and more importantly projecting for the future. Mets would laugh at the A’s if offered Chapman for Alonso. This reminds me of Mientkiewicz blocking Morneau and people saying you couldn’t discount defense. While 3B is mildly more important than 1B, some of the factors are the same. Chapman is limited by some physical characteristics that won’t change over time. With age his range will decline. And unlike 1B it’s not exactly like you are putting scrubs out there as the replacement defense. It’s not nearly as important as say CF defensively, which Buxton impacts more as defensive CF than Chapman does at 3B. For Alonso, it is hard to replicate that type of offense.

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