TABLE, Ariz. — Matt Chapman knew he was likely to be traded as part of the A’s firesale in the weeks ahead of Opening Day. On Wednesday, he finally was.
The two-time Platinum Glove-winning third baseman was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, according to reports from former major leaguer Carlos Baerga and Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
In return, the A’s will receive pitchers Gunnar Hoglund, Zach Logue and Kirby Snead, along with shortstop Kevin Smith, according to Toronto columnist Shi Davidi. Hoglund was the Jays’ No. 3 prospect in MLB’s 2021 rankings while Smith was ranked No. 9 and Logue was No. 27.
It’s the third trade of a significant contributor already this week, following Matt Olson being sent to Atlanta on Monday and pitcher Chris Bassitt getting dealt to the New York Mets on Saturday. It likely won’t be the last, with rumors continuing to swirl around outfielder Ramón Laureano.
Chapman, 28 (but turning 29 in late April), had what he felt was an underwhelming 2021, batting .210 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI. But coming off hip surgery in late 2020, Chapman told reporters Sunday he’s feeling like he’s built his strength back up and feels ready to get back to his previous all-star worthy form.
“I know, when I’m healthy, what I’m capable of, and I’ve shown it before in this league,” Chapman said Sunday. “I think I want to return to what I was doing in ’18, ’19, but just a more experienced, healthier version of that. Because I think this is the healthiest I’ve ever felt.”
Hoglund, the 19th overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft out of Ole Miss, is the third former first-round selection acquired by the A’s this week. The right-handed pitcher joins former top-10 pick, catcher Shea Langeliers, and another 2021 first-round pick, pitcher Ryan Cusick, who were both acquired from Atlanta in the Olson trade.
Hoglund is recovering from Tommy John surgery last May and told MLB.com in February that rehab was going smoothly as he had been throwing post-surgery for about four months. Snead and Smith made their MLB debuts last year and, along with Logue, are “major league-ready,” according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Given his age, combination of power and defense, and potential to return to his 2018-19 form, Chapman was one of the most intriguing trade candidates available. His contract status also is team-friendly. Chapman reportedly will earn $9.5 million this season and isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season.
The A’s took Chapman with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 draft out of Cal State Fullerton and, less than three seasons later, he was Oakland’s starting third baseman and almost instantly became a fan favorite. Much of that is because of his defense of him. Chapman has won a Gold Glove in each of his three full seasons in the majors, including last season, and is a two-time Platinum Glove winner, a fan vote determining the best defensive player in the league.
It’s also the second time an “Oakland firesale” has led to a third baseman trade to Toronto. Back in November 2014, the A’s sent Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for pitcher Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin and infielders Brett Lawrie and Franklin Barreto. The season after that trade, Donaldson won the American League MVP, batting .297 with 41 homers and 123 RBI.
Toronto certainly wouldn’t mind a repeat of that from Chapman.
Staff writer Kerry Crowley and editor Laurence Miedema contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism