The Cubs may still be in on Matt Chapman, even after the Michael Busch trade

The Chicago Cubs will likely use Michael Busch at first base, meaning Matt Chapman is not out of the equation

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs completed a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday to acquire third baseman Michael Busch, but that doesn't mean the team is out on free-agent third baseman Matt Chapman.

Per a report from The Athletics' Sahadev Sharma, the consensus moving forward may be to shift Busch to first base and utilize him there in the long term. Sharma cites poor defensive ratings from scouts about Busch's performance at third base. MLB.com's prospect profile on Busch also suggests that third base in the majors may be too much for him to handle and that first base is a more suitable long-term home. With the Cubs in need at both positions, it makes sense to keep Busch at first and look to upgrade with Chapman at third.

And we've already heard rumblings that the Cubs are in on Chapman, who is one of the best free agents remaining on the market. Jim Bowden, a senior MLB writer for The Athletic, says the Cubs remain in negotiations with Chapman, as well as Rhys Hoskins, Jordan Montgomery and Cody Bellinger.

There are many doubters out there as to Chapman's ability at the plate, and I admit that some of his numbers were suspect last year. Striking out at a 28.4% clip is not ideal, but Chapman is a 25+ home run threat, smacked 39 doubles last year (which is tied for 6th in the League) and he hit the ball harder than anyone else in the league according to baseball savant. There are certainly flaws to his hitting, but the ceiling is also very high and he was still an above-average hitter last year (110 wRC+).

And no matter what he does at the plate, Chapman is an absolute wizard with his glove and is one of the best defensive third basemen playing the game today. He has four gold gloves (including 2023), two platinum gloves, and a whopping 92 career defensive runs saved. Since his debut in 2017, Chapman has the second most defensive runs saved in the league behind Mookie Betts' 99.

With a question mark at third base, the high ceiling of Chapman's hitting abilities, and the rock-solid defense, I wouldn't mind Jed Hoyer breaking the bank for Chapman. The time to win is now, and just imagine the disgusting level of play with three perennial gold glove candidates like Chapman, Dansby Swanson, and Nico Hoerner playing in the same infield. A boy can dream.

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