Chicago Cubs Rumors: Matt Chapman coming into focus as offseason target
The Chicago Cubs' three-year contract extension with All-Star left fielder Ian Happ has provided the team with some cost certainty as they make their projections for what they will have available to spend this offseason. Starting pitching likely will be the priority for the Cubs this offseason as it seems likely that Marcus Stroman will opt out of his current deal with the team and Kyle Hendricks also may hit the market if the team opts against exercising the team option in his contract for the 2024 season.
Of course, Shohei Ohtani will be available this offseason as he is set to become a free agent and would fill the need that the Cubs have at the top of their rotation as well as the need for an impact bat. However, it remains unlikely that the Cubs would be willing to meet the contract demands that it would take to sign Ohtani.
While working a contract extension with Stroman may be how the Cubs address their starting pitching need, the need for the impact bat may come in the form of current Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman. Chapman is a free agent after this season and Jon Heyman of the New York Post listed the Cubs among the teams that would be interested in the third baseman.
"The Cubs, Giants Dodgers and incumbent Blue Jays round out the list of most logical landing spots for Chapman, known as one of the best fielding third basemen in MLB. "- Jon Heyman, New York Post
The Cubs' extension of Happ has put Chapman in a nice spot as he heads into free agency. Chapman is in a position to be the best position player on the free agent market this season and his start to the 2023 season is only further proving that statement. Chapman is slashing .489/.538/.851 through his first 52 plate appearances this season to go along with 3 home runs and an outstanding 286 wRC+.
Chapman would undoubtedly check all of the boxes for the Cubs. Chapman is a power bat that the Cubs would be able to put in the middle of their lineup and is a three-time Gold Glove award winner at third base. The fit is clear and the cost likely would be in the range of what the Cubs are comfortable in spending as their contention window will open in earnest with the 2024 season.