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Can Twins Level Up to Matt Chapman from Josh Donaldson?


Recently the A’s General Manager, David Forst was quoted as saying “we have to listen and be open to whatever comes out of this”, speaking of the organization's financial situation. Should the Twins pursue the best defensive third baseman in baseball?

Twins Daily's own Cody Christie broached this very topic two years ago when Chapman was coming off monster 2018 and 2019 seasons that earned him MVP votes in each season and an All-Star Appearance in 2019. At that time Cody speculated that the package would start with Byron Buxton and include a couple prospects based on Chapman’s recent performance and four years of team control remaining.

Since then, Chapman has added a third Gold Glove to his resume, but has regressed a little on the offensive side of the ball coming off a career-low 101 wRC+ in the 2021 season. Furthermore, he’s now only under team control for two more years which diminishes his value a little more. As Forst suggested in the full quote to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, letting other teams hand out big contracts is “the cycle for the A’s”. You might remember current Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson was once an up-and-coming star for the Oakland Athletics before getting shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays for Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman, Brett Lawrie, and Sean Nolin... none of which were Top 100 prospects at the time and none of which have made much of an impact on the field for the A’s. OOF.

The similarities between 2014 Donaldson and 2021 Chapman are quite surprising. Both players were/are 28 years old. Donaldson had one-year of team control whereas Chapman has two-years. Donaldson had two monster years and so has Chapman. Both were/are considered among the best defenders in the league. Albeit the Donaldson trade was seven years ago, can the Twins really get away with trading for Chapman without giving up a top 100 prospect? To answer that question let's look at a more recent traded involving a star third baseman on a small market team. Back in February of this year, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Nolan Arenado and $51 million while giving up the following:

  • LHP Austin Gomber - never top 100, 219.1 IP, 4.27 FIP, 2.35 K/BB
  • INF Mateo Gil - never top 100, #22 prospect in COL system in 2020, unranked in 2021
  • INF Elehuris Montero - never top 100, #7 prospect in COL system in 2020, #4 in 2021
  • RHP Toney Locey - never top 100, #15 prospect in COL system in 2020, unranked in 2021
  • RHP Jake Sommers - never top 100, unranked in COL system in 2020 & 2021

Looking at that list of names and their resumes, there is definitely some more recent precedent that indicates the Twins may not have to “sell the farm” to acquire Chapman from the A’s, who I think most would rank below Arenado in terms of providing value to a team (not to mention the $51 million toss-in). So with all that said, what does a trade with the A’s look like involving Chapman?

First thing the Twins would have to do is move on from Donaldson, who was shopped at the trade deadline, or get him to agree to be the primary Designated Hitter and relieve Chapman at third base as-needed. The former seems like a more realistic option than the latter, although the metrics clearly show that Donaldson has lost a step (or multiple steps) at the hot corner. Once we’ve opened third base, then comes working with the A’s on a deal keeping in mind the precedent that has been set and the ongoing CBA negotiations that could make any teams tentative to be aggressive until they have a more clear picture on what the next CBA entails. With that said, here are some names I would shop/include in a deal for Matt Chapman:

  • Jose Miranda - yes, he’s coming off a monster 2021 minor league season but was that real or sustainable? Nobody knows. This could be an opportunity to sell high and what better option than giving the A’s their third basemen of the future.
  • Josh Winder, Matt Canterino, Blayne Enlow - you can never have enough pitching but seven of their top ten prospects are pitchers which afford them some flexibility to part with one.

You might have to add in another low level prospect or two, but I think it makes a lot of sense to sell high on Miranda if you’re getting a young-ish third basemen in return who you have at least two years of team control over with the ability to negotiate an extension to keep him in a Twins uniform through his prime.

Are you interested in seeing Matt Chapman as a Twins if it means giving up Donaldson, Miranda, and a couple other prospects?


 


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Huh?  it is easily arguable that Donalson was better last year than Chapman and will be better next year than Chapman.  Giving up ANYTHING for that is nuts.  Gving up OUR future 3rd baseman alone would disqualify even thinking about this trade.  Even if this was strictly a salary dump, it wouldn't make sense since you could "give away" Donaldson and bring in Miranda to play 3rd base for the minimum.

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If you can swing getting Chapmen for not much in prospects I am good with it.  I do not see him sticking around as he hits his 30's.  His offense is already dropping some, maybe just a down year, but some guys drop off really quickly.  I am not for giving up prospects for someone already showing regression possibly.  

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No, hell no.  The biggest point I took from this piece is the danger of trading away young, proven stars seeing what the A's got when they traded Donaldson.  Sounds like a great reason to 'not trade Buxton.'  

As for third base...start Miranda at St. Paul on opening day, then bring him up when Donaldson goes on the IR in late April or May.  When Donaldson returns, alternate him between third and DH until July when he gets traded.  Meanwhile, Miranda starts at third about three-quarters of the time until Donaldson is gone.

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What does Josh Donaldson have to do to convince Twins fans that he is a good baseball player? 

I think next year is a good time to work Jose Miranda into playing time and also believe that Donaldson would benefit from being a DH a couple of times per week. 

Chapman has little value for the Twins unless he comes for prospects in the #20-40 range. Great defense, the bat should rebound, but not a fit for the Twins. We have JD already and Miranda waits.

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Heck NO! Bring up Miranda, Donaldson DH & part time 3rd base. Though I would rather have Nelson Cruz DH at 1/2 the price of Donaldson. Trade Donaldson, sign Cruz would be a better option.

Now that we gave away Berrios, we are going to have to pay MORE $ for the same or likely less proven starters. This team needed a starter, closer & a SS. 

Now they need an Ace, a #2 & a#3 starter, a closer and an entire bullpen & a SS.

Unless they have 200M to spend, its completely hopeless. The entire front office needs to be fired!

This team was a closer and a couple if seeing eye singles away from the world series in 2019, now look at it.😞

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Sign Buxton. Trade Donaldson if you can do it without paying too much of his salary. If you can get Chapman for a reasonable trade of prospects fine. Not Miranda, that nuts. But what  we need most of all is s.s. Put an effort into getting Siemens even for 25 plus million. The team will not be sorry. They out hit every team.

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4 hours ago, miracleb said:

Huh?  it is easily arguable that Donalson was better last year than Chapman and will be better next year than Chapman.  Giving up ANYTHING for that is nuts.  Gving up OUR future 3rd baseman alone would disqualify even thinking about this trade.  Even if this was strictly a salary dump, it wouldn't make sense since you could "give away" Donaldson and bring in Miranda to play 3rd base for the minimum.

There's no argument that Chapman is an upgrade defensively.  We could argue that Donaldson is better offensively but given his age, recent health, and defensive decline a move to DH would make sense.

What makes you so sure that 2021 wasn't a fluke for Miranda? He's never put up numbers near what he did last year. Could it be real? Absolutely. Could it be a fluke? Absolutely. My take...we have a plethora of IF (Polanco Arraez, Lewis, Martin, Cavaco, etc.) that makes some of them expendable. I wouldn't trade two guys (Polanco and Arraez) who have proven to contribute at the MLB level and (Lewis, Martin, Cavaco, etc.) aren't going to be enough to net Chapman.

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6 hours ago, rv78 said:

Last time I looked the Twins don't need a 3B having 3 guys already in position to play there, (Donaldson, Miranda, Arraez). If he was a SS I'd consider it.

Are any of those guys good at that position? Donaldson is no longer a great third basemen and is aging/declining, Arraez is not great at the position, and Miranda could be a one-year wonder and I'm not sure how he is defensively. His MLB.com scouting report says he "could be an offensive minded everyday utility player"...doesn't really sound like defense is considered a strength.

The Twins struggled defensively last year and this would be a clear upgrade that would come with at least average offense.

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This post and thread bring up 2 of the more interesting player evals in all of baseball I think. I'd bet there are some huge differences in how different orgs view Chapman. I don't think anybody would have him ranked any worse than #2 in baseball as a defensive 3B (him and Arrenado are head and shoulders above everyone else), but I'd bet there is some difference in how people see his bat. He's a Sano-esque K machine with a low BA so it really comes down to the views of his power and patience, and how sustainable they are. I think he's a clear upgrade on Donaldson at this point in time as a complete player (he was actually in the 76th percentile in sprint speed which is surprising for a 3B), but I'm not sure what I'd be willing to give up for 2 years of him.

The 2nd interesting player eval is Miranda. Fans around here are very excited about him, and for good reason, but he hasn't exactly sky rocketed up national prospect rankings. I may have missed an update somewhere, but I don't remember seeing him on any top 100 lists even at the end of the year/after the year. Having not been selected in the Rule 5 last year shows there weren't any MLB teams that saw him as a prospect who was going to put up the numbers he did last year, and evaluators haven't seemed to shift too dramatically in their rankings of him even after the big season. That certainly doesn't mean he's not to be viewed highly by folks here, but it's interesting. 

Chapman has a career 120 OPS+ and wRC+. If Miranda puts up those kinds of numbers in his first 5 seasons we should all be very happy. There's 0% chance Miranda can do what Chapman does with the glove. The question really is if Chapman has been figured out by the league and his decline with the bat is real or if he's going to bounce back to a hitter who's 20+% better than league average. And I think you'll find drastically different answers to that question amongst FO personnel.

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5 hours ago, dex8425 said:

I don't see Chapman as an upgrade for 2022, nor do I see him as a long-term rebuild option, so I don't think this makes sense. If the Twins are going to try and contend in 2022, they need to keep Donaldson at 3rd, with days off at DH. His bat still plays. 

The Twins needs to rebuild an entire pitching staff (3-4 starters and 3-4 spots in their bullpen) along with a shortstop and left fielder. They have some options who contributed in 2021 and some options in the minors who could contribute in 2022, but A LOT has to go right for them to contend. I don't see them contending in 2022.

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4 hours ago, MinnInPa said:

No....absolutely no.  this team just needs an ACE to go with these starters.... Ober, Pineda, Ryan, Maeda....and 2 solid relievers ( as long as Taylor Rogers comes back fine ). Maybe Miranda comes up and plays 3B and Donaldson at DH??

 

Pineda technically isn't on the roster anymore. Maeda will miss at least half of 2022. Sure 2021 is Miranda's most recent season, but we have more data (2016-2018) that could indicate 2021 was a fluke. I'm not against putting my. marbles in that basket but I also think we should consider "selling high" unless we think he's the real deal.

Edited by Matthew Lenz
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I'm surprised at how many people are taking Miranda's lone monster season and assuming that he can sustain or repeat that. I don't know more than anyone else to for sure say 2021 was a fluke, but I'm also not sold that his 2016-2018 seasons aren't telling. Based on his scouting report, it sounds like he doesn't have a great glove and the Twins struggled defensively last year...who says he can't be the DH of the future?

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2 minutes ago, Matthew Lenz said:

I'm surprised at how many people are taking Miranda's lone monster season and assuming that he can sustain or repeat that. I don't know more than anyone else to for sure say 2021 was a fluke, but I'm also not sold that his 2016-2018 seasons aren't telling. Based on his scouting report, it sounds like he doesn't have a great glove and the Twins struggled defensively last year...who says he can't be the DH of the future?

Right now, I think Miranda would be a great trade chip. Before people jump all over me, I'm not suggesting we actively seek to trade him, but his stock is high right now and thrown in with someone else, maybe he'd bring something back worthwhile, like pitching. Further, in Seth's interview of Miranda, didn't he say his favorite position to play was 2nd base? So, to bank on him being our 3rd base of the future? I'd be wary, plus given what you've said here. It's why I don't want to trade Donaldson for nothing and don't want to trade him without a legitimate 3rd baseman in return or signed. Just because Miranda is in the wings doesn't mean Josh is even close to being expendable. Having Miranda in the wings might make Arraez expendable, but not Donaldson.

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19 hours ago, Matthew Lenz said:

The Twins needs to rebuild an entire pitching staff (3-4 starters and 3-4 spots in their bullpen) along with a shortstop and left fielder. They have some options who contributed in 2021 and some options in the minors who could contribute in 2022, but A LOT has to go right for them to contend. I don't see them contending in 2022.

If Chapman only has 2 years of team control left, and the Twins aren't competing in 2022, why are we trading for him??

 

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On 11/19/2021 at 6:25 AM, rv78 said:

Last time I looked the Twins don't need a 3B having 3 guys already in position to play there, (Donaldson, Miranda, Arraez). If he was a SS I'd consider it.

Dallas Braden, who is about as much of an A's insider as you'll find in the media, mentioned on Starting 9 that the A's have strongly considered moving Champman to SS so they could add another bat at 3B.

If he can handle it, I'm interested in him as a stopgap. I would guess he would be a league average SS on defense based on his 3B skills.

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If the Twins trade Buxton, we are in a rebuild.  What sense does it make to trade a top prospects for 2 years of Chapman?  I think it is fantasy land to think the Twins would resign Chapman to a long term deal after the two years, especially if his hit tool has a resurgence.  The Twins won't be competitive until at least 2024 under the trade Buxton scenario, and Chapman will be long gone.  Even if he produces 5 War a year and helps us win 5 more games a year, we still won't be in the playoffs. In such a case, play and develop the kids, and look for established players two years from now when a window opens up again (if it does).

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If the Twins discuss an expanded trade with Oakland that would bring a pitcher or two over in addition to Chapman, then the chance for being in contention increases substantially, and a move for Chapman makes more sense. Kirrillov, Martin, Larnach, Duran, Lewis, Enlow, Miranda et al should not be deemed untouchable, but hopefully we wouldn't lose more than 2 of our top 10 prospects. I'm not a fan of a deal for only Chapman. We need help up the middle.

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I think I'd rather go after a couple of pitchers from the A's (Montas, Bassitt, Manaea, Kaprillian) than Chapman.  I think the guy to deal is Arraez.  Sending him as the centerpiece of a package to Oakland could bring Bassitt AND Manaea to the Twins.  Good Lord, our starting rotation is two rookies who will be on innings limits in 2022.  Bassitt and manaea would be quality AND quantity.  The idea that you could sell high on Miranda right now is logical.  I'd rather replace Arraez with Miranda and sell high on Arraez.

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On 11/19/2021 at 2:41 PM, Matthew Lenz said:

The Twins needs to rebuild an entire pitching staff (3-4 starters and 3-4 spots in their bullpen) along with a shortstop and left fielder. They have some options who contributed in 2021 and some options in the minors who could contribute in 2022, but A LOT has to go right for them to contend. I don't see them contending in 2022.

My point wasn't whether they're rebuilding or trying to contend, my point was that Chapman doesn't make sense with either option. Of course, the front office has said the team isn't rebuilding, and I will judge whether they are by what moves are made this offseason.

You still have to play the games; I wouldn't have said the Giants or Mariners were contenders for 2020 but the Giants then went out and won 109 games and the Mariners almost made the playoffs.  

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