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?