If and when Major League Baseball’s lockout comes to a close, clubs like the Chicago White Sox will be back in the business of trying to find the answers to problems that exist for their teams.
The opportunity to make trades or sign free agents will be back in play. If the White Sox Sox want to think big to help themselves, general manager Rick Hahn might want to turn his attention to the Oakland A’s for help.
During a recent edition of “Inside the Clubhouse” on WSCR-670AM, baseball beat reporter Bruce Levine mentioned that the A’s will be looking to move several key players. He believes if the Sox want to land an impact player, they should do whatever they can to get third baseman, Matt Chapman. Doing so, Levine says, will open up the opportunity for them to move Yoan Moncada back to second base or into the outfield.
"“I think Chapman would be an answer to the White Sox final piece of the puzzle,” Levine said. “A Gold Glove third baseman. A guy that hits 30 to 35 bombs, and probably more in Guaranteed Rate than he does at Oakland Stadium where it’s impossible to hit home runs.”"
Chapman belted 27 homers last season and has averaged 29 bombs in each of the three seasons that he has played over 100 games. In his rookie season of 2017, he homered 14 times in 84 games. He also put up 10 in 37 games of the COVID shorted 2020 campaign.
Matt Chapman would make so much sense for the Chicago White Sox right now.
The Sox defense would certainly get a boost as Chapman is a three-time Gold Glover at the hot corner with the most recent award coming last season. In each of the last two full seasons, Chapman led all American League third basemen in putouts and fielding percentage. Last year, he committed just six errors in 446 chances.
Chapman hasn’t been an RBI machine over his career, although much of that can be attributed to the talent the A’s had around him. He drove in 72 last year and has a career-high of 91 during the 2019 campaign. That would probably change if he came to the Sox based on the offensive weapons surrounding him in the lineup.
On the health side, a plus for Chapman is he seems to have recovered nicely from the hip surgery he had in 2020. Based on his overall performance last season, it doesn’t seem as though that will be an issue for him going forward.
Additionally, Chapman wouldn’t become a free agent until after the 2024 season. He is scheduled to make $9.5 million this year and is arbitration-eligible in 2022.
Batting average wasn’t one of his strong suits in 2021 as he hit only .210 with 202 strikeouts. That average was a huge drop-off from his .249 average in 2019 and .278 the year before that.
Oakland is looking to cut salary so they won’t likely take on a big contract. Perhaps a trade package involving Andrew Vaughn (or a player like that) and prospects could work out.
With second base being an area needing an upgrade, one school of thought has been to move Moncada over there. He wouldn’t be new to the position as he has played 203 games over his career at second with a .964 fielding percentage during that time.
While the move back to second would necessitate an adjustment period for the six-year veteran, Moncada might be able to capably fill the position currently slated for Leury Garcia.
Levine offered up the possibility of moving Moncada to the outfield, perhaps to rightfield which has a number of in-house candidates including Adam Engel, Gavin Sheets, Andrew Vaughn, and Oscar Colas. Another option would be to go the free-agent route where the likes of Nick Castellanos, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Michael Conforto are available.