The Oakland A’s are clearly not in a position to be spending much money. Ownership keeps looking for reasons to cry poverty, and that is not going to make spending on payroll anything close to a priority. This leaves the A’s in a difficult situation as their Matts – Matt Olson and Matt Chapman – are likely to receive hefty raises in arbitration.
As it is, both players were already fairly expensive for the A’s tastes. Chapman made $6.49 million in 2021, while Olson earned a $5 million salary. Those price tags will jump in arbitration.
Oakland A’s have decisions to make
Given their expected increase in price, both players are expected to attract a great deal of attention on the trade market. Plenty of teams will be looking for help at the corners, and given the track record for Olson and Chapman, the A’s may be able to quickly restock a somewhat mediocre farm system.
Olson would be the most prized of the duo. He had produced a career best 153 OPS+ in his 673 plate appearances, hitting 39 homers and 35 doubles. The only thing that slowed him down with the bat was when he hit himself in the face during batting practice when he hit a lined shot off the pitching screen hard enough where it came right back at him.
Chapman, however, is trending in the opposite direction. After hip surgery ended his 2020 season early, the hope was that he would be ready for the 2021 campaign. While he was healthy in terms of being able to get on the diamond, he produced a career worst 100 OPS+ with 27 homers and 15 doubles in his 622 plate appearances. His walk rate drastically increased, as did his strikeout rate, and Chapman’s defense was not nearly what it had been.
It really comes down to the A’s mindset. While one could justify trading Chapman given his decreased production on both sides and increasing salary, trading Olson would put up a white flag on the 2022 campaign before it began. At that point in time, the fire sale may as well begin.
The Oakland A’s have a decision to make on their Matts. Both Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are getting more expensive and they may not be able to afford them.