Matt Chapman could have short-term value for the Chicago Cubs

Matt Chapman has been a polarizing free-agent target for the Chicago Cubs this off-season but there could be short-term value for the team.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Matt Chapman has been an oft-rumored Chicago Cubs target this off-season and there has been much discussion over his offensive profile.

During the first month of the 2023 season, Chapman was well on his toward positioning himself at the top of the free-agent market for position hitters. Chapman slashed .384/.465/.687 during the first month of the season with the Toronto Blue Jays to go along with a wRC+ of 216.

It was unlikely that Chapman was going to continue that pace for the remainder of the season but his offensive numbers fell off a cliff beginning in May with his struggles lasting the remainder of the season. From May 1 to the end of the season, Chapman slashed .205/.298/.361 with a wRC+ of 84.

Considering that Chapman will turn 31 during the first month of the 2024 season, the fact that he has already had significant offensive regression is a concern for any team that would be looking for him to be a long-term answer at the third base position.

It's likely what is the current debate for the Cubs' front office. Chapman is a platinum Gold Glover at the third base position and would fit with the run prevention philosophy that the Cubs have. The issue, with his next contract, there likely would be the pressure of Chapman serving as an offensive improvement for the Cubs as well.

For the 2024 season, FanGraphs does project Chapman to be a better offensive player than he was from May 1 to the end fo the season in 2023. Chapman's offensive projections for the 2024 season have a slash line of .230/.323/.421 with a wRC+ of 104. The projected 24 home runs is what carries Chapman toward being a tick above an average offensive player in 2024.

Depending on the contract, there may be value for Cubs. However,, anything that surpasses three years in length would be a significant risk.

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