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What would it cost the Phillies to land Matt Chapman?

Could the Phillies trade for Matt Chapman? (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

What’s that saying about smoke?

Saturday afternoon, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic opined that Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman would be “a logical target” for the Philadelphia Phillies. It wasn’t a report, but it’s also fair to wonder if that’s an idea that someone — probably the A’s — wanted out there.

Rosenthal would go on to suggest that Alec Bohm and outfielder Johan Rojas — the No. 4 prospect in the Phillies’ system in the most recent update to the Phillies Nation top 20 prospects list — could make for an interesting return for Chapman.

Meanwhile, Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer added this, seeming to confirm that the two sides have had dialogue about the 28-year-old third baseman:

Bryson Stott, Mick Abel and Andrew Painter are the last three first-round picks that the Phillies have made, and in some order, viewed as the three most intriguing prospects in the team’s system currently.

Abel and Painter were both drafted out of high school, so neither is especially close to being promoted to the majors. Stott — a good friend of reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper — could very well make his Major League debut at some point during the 2022 season.

After Matt Klentak stepped down as general manager in October of 2020, managing partner John Middleton lamented the fact that for much of the history of the Phillies, they have failed to consistently develop blue-chip talents. That makes you think that Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies’ front office would probably prefer not to touch the high-end prospects in a top-heavy system.

With that said, the current Major League core — Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura — is built to win right now. The Phillies also were a disaster defensively in 2021, finishing with a league-worst -54 defensive runs saved as a team. Chapman fits the timeline of the Phillies, and since he entered the league in 2017, his 78 defensive runs saved are third among all players. Chapman, a two-time Platinum Glove Award winner, would be the best defender that the Phillies have employed since trading Scott Rolen in July of 2002.

Last summer, the Phillies parted with Spencer Howard — who fairly recently had been seen as a future core piece — for more immediate gains. Like Howard, Bohm struggled in 2022. Bohm’s offensive ceiling is extremely high, as evidenced by the fact that he hit .338 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. But his floor may be relatively low, when you consider that he posted just a .647 OPS in 115 games a season ago. And while the Phillies continue to say they view Bohm as a third basemen, the -19 defensive runs saved he has at the position since entering the league suggest otherwise.

It’s possible that new hitting coach Kevin Long will be able to unlock Bohm as a hitter, which would include him beginning to consistently hit home runs. It’s also possible that Bohm continues to struggle in 2022, and his value is non-existent in a year. Whether he would be enough to headline a trade for Chapman right now is unclear, but the Phillies should definitely find out.

Chapman isn’t a perfect player himself, as we saw when he hit just .210 with a .314 on-base percentage last season. However, he still homered 27 times, drove in 72 runs and worked 80 walks. As recently as 2019, he slashed .249/.342/.506 with 36 home runs and 91 RBIs. And that part about him being an all-time defender is a pretty big deal too.

The Phillies — who it appears will host the A’s to open the season — still have a lot to figure out. But it’s hard to think that the addition of Chapman wouldn’t drastically improve the team in 2022, and beyond.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    March 12, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    Supposedly the Phillies have a load of middle infield TALENT
    in the minors. Seems everyone they draft is a shortstop
    So why trade the more rare starting pitcher? NOT A GOOD IDEA.
    Sure BOHM looks bad. Headed towards another flop. But don’t
    PANIC. YET. Keep your top prospects and SIGN a few Free Agents
    UNTIL you build a better farm in the future. LOL, I’ll believe
    it when I see it.

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