With the Chicago Cubs seemingly addressing their need at first base with the trade for Michael Busch last week, that led to an uptick in speculation that Matt Chapman could be a realistic target for the team given the need that remains at third base.
Chapman has been an interesting case study for free agents as his offensive numbers fell off a cliff after the first month of the 2023 season but his batted-ball metrics suggest that he was more the victim of bad luck than he was of bad mechanics.
The longer that Chapman remains on the free-agent market, the more likely it is that he would fall into a price range where the Cubs would be comfortable. Given the fact that the Cubs want to find a defensive position for Christopher Morel and have an emerging top prospect in 2023 first-round pick Matt Shaw, the team is likely looking to avoid any long-term financial commitment at the hot corner.
That would be the reason why despite Chapman still being on the market, a deal with the Cubs may still be unlikely. MLB insider Jon Heyman provided an update on Chapman's market on Tuesday with the indication that he is still looking for a deal north of $100MM with the San Francisco Giants likely being the favorites.
With it looking unlikely that Rhys Hoskins will be a target for the Cubs, it would seem that if the Cubs look toward free agency to fill their offensive need, it will be for either Chapman or Cody Bellinger.
The fascinating aspect of deciding between Chapman and Bellinger is that both have long-term concerns for the opposite reasons. Bellinger had offensive success during the 2023 season but his batted-ball metrics would suggest it is not sustainable while Chapman's struggles last season would seem to be in line for a bounce back given the positive trends of his metrics. If the Cubs were to expand beyond their comfort zone on a deal, it likely would be for the left-handed Bellinger given his ability to play both first base and center field.