For a Chicago Cubs team that valued run prevention during the 2023 season, many fans had Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman circled as a target for the team this off-season.
Chapman is an outstanding defensive third baseman and at the start of the 2023 season, was on a path to be one of the most highly-paid free agents this winter. During the first month of the season, Chapman slashed .384/.465/.687 with a 216 wRC+.
The issue with regard to Chapman is that his numbers dipped considerably after the first month of the season.
From May 1 to the end of the season, Chapman slashed .205/.298/.361 with 12 home runs and a wRC+ of 84. Collectively, Chapman finished the season with a slash line of .240/.330/.424 with 17 home runs and a wRC+ of 110. It goes without saying that Chapman's first month of the season is carrying most of the weight for his season totals.
For any team that targets Chapman this off-season, there likely will be some concern over his offensive slump last season. The Cubs have often been mentioned as a team that will target Chapman but the 30-year-old third baseman should not be at the top of their wish list.
There should be caution with the Cubs in regard to Chapman. This won't happen but if Chapman's price falls down to the point where he is willing to take a one-year deal as a way to restore his value offensively, there is no doubt that the Cubs should be involved in his market. The issue with that is that the position player market in terms of free agency is weak this winter and there will be a team that is going to overpay Chapman. For the Cubs, there would be more value in re-signing Jeimer Candelario to a short-term deal with 2023 first-round draft pick, Matt Shaw already reaching the Double-A level by the end of his first professional season.