The Oakland A’s are expected to trade anyone they possibly can this offseason. All of their arbitration eligible players are expected to be on the block, as are some players that may be getting close to that point. Even those who had down seasons by their standards, such as Matt Chapman, are expected to be dealt away.
Chapman does have the ability to intrigue teams. He belted 27 homers last season while drawing 80 walks, showcasing the power and on base skills that teams would covet. His defense improved last season as well, as he returned to his Gold Glove form once he was fully recovered from his torn hip labrum that hindered him in 2020.
Trading Matt Chapman a risk for Oakland A’s
There were plenty of negatives as well. Chapman struck out an A’s record 202 times, limiting his effectiveness in the batter’s box. His 100 OPS+ was easily the worst of his career, and his 3.5 bWAR was just a fraction of the number that he put up in his heyday in 2018 and 2019.
This leads to the dilemma for the A’s. Chapman is projected to earn approximately $9.5 million next year through arbitration, which is a significant amount of their payroll. However, if they trade him now, they run the risk of dealing Chapman at the lowest point of his value.
Meanwhile, if they keep Chapman and he continues to struggle, they will have wasted an opportunity. His value would be even lower, and he would only have one year of team control left. Those offers that the A’s may be getting now would not be there any longer.
Even with that down year, Chapman is still a player that teams would covet. He has the type of power that can make a major difference in the middle of the lineup and his glove can make a major difference for a pitching staff. Add in his two years of team control, and it is understandable as to why teams would be willing to take the chance that he can rebound, especially at a potential discount on the trade market.
For the A’s, it comes down to cost. Chapman is only going to get more expensive, even if he has a rough 2022 campaign. With so many teams having an interest in his services, the A’s may even find themselves receiving a better trade offer than anyone would expect. Despite the potential negatives, it makes sense for the A’s to pull the trigger on a trade this offseason.
The Oakland A’s would be taking a risk in trading Matt Chapman when his value is low. But it would be a bigger risk to wait.