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.
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