Reviewing the 2022 Oakland A’s Trades: Matt Chapman
The A’s seem to love trading their third basemen to the Toronto Blue Jays. They traded Josh Donaldson to the Jays back in 2015, where he won AL MVP. In 2022, they traded defensive wizard Matt Chapman for four players in return.
Here’s the breakdown of the full trade:
- Blue Jays get: 3B Matt Chapman
- A’s get: 3B Kevin Smith, RHP Gunnar Hoglund, LHP Zach Logue, LHP Kirby Snead
Donaldson and Marcus Semien were both former A’s who went to the Blue Jays and put up MVP numbers. Chapman didn’t have a terrible first season with the Blue Jays, but it was nothing stellar. After striking out 200 times last year, he was able to cut that down and lower his strikeout rate to 27.4%. He still hit 27 home runs, the same as in 2021, but walked about two percent less going from 12.9% to 11%. His 117 wRC+ was still respectable, but only a 15-point increase from 2021.
The numbers are disappointing, but his baseball savant page shows Chapman hasn’t lost touch with hitting the ball hard.
He clearly made some adjustments in his first year in Toronto and is absolutely smoking the ball, even if they aren’t resulting in hits.
The surprising thing about Chapman this year was his defense. He’s been arguably the best defensive third baseman in baseball not named Nolan Arenado. He’s already won multiple Gold Gloves, platinum gloves, and every other possible defensive award. This year, Chapman didn’t win a single one. He collected only two Defensive Runs Saved, the same amount as the shortened 2020 season. He also only had one Out Above Average, also same as 2020. Whether it’s an injury or adjusting the turf in Toronto, something prevented Chapman from displaying his full defensive skills.
Smith was the opening-day third baseman to replace Chapman. It was an incredibly slow start, batting .164 with a .212 OBP until the middle of June when he was optioned to Triple-A. From then until September, Smith still struggled to hit, only batting as high as .224. But once the first day of September hit, Smith completely turned it around. He hit .365 with a .405 OBP, 11 home runs, and a 1.184 OPS. His defensive numbers in the majors were also good, even better than Chapman, as he had five DRS and three OAA in 47 games. He’s the favorite to be the starting third baseman in 2023.
It was hard to find a positive in the 2022 season for Snead. His 5.84 ERA across 44 2/3 innings was horrendous, but the pitches and movement he has could be lethal if he can control them. According to his savant page, Snead’s fastball ranks fifth in baseball in horizontal movement and his sinker is ranked third in baseball in horizontal movement. Snead threw a lot of the sinkers, almost too much as batters hit .347 against it. Mixing in his fastball, sinker, and changeup more evenly could help him find more success next season.
Like Snead, Logue was a throw-in piece that struggled in 2022. He only played in 14 games and started ten of them, finishing the season with a 6.79 ERA over 57 innings. His biggest issue was the long ball; he gave up 13 home runs with the A’s and 25 in Triple-A. If Logue has a spot on the A’s next season, it’ll most likely be a bullpen spot.
Hoglund was the headliner of this deal despite not playing for most of the year. He was recovering from Tommy John surgery when the trade was made, and it wasn’t until August 6 that he made his A’s affiliate debut in Single-A. Hoglund went three innings, allowing three hits, one unearned run, and one walk while striking out one. He’s only 22 years old with a chance to pitch a full season in 2023, and make himself a top-10 pick from the 2021 draft.
Similar to the Donaldson deal, this deal isn’t looking good for the A’s. Snead and Logue are 26 who won’t be on the team when the A’s are ready to contend. Smith has potential, but the A’s have plenty of depth at third base, including number three prospect Zack Gelof who could kick Smith out. Luckily Chapman isn’t doing so hot either, and if Hoglund can live up to the ace potential, the A’s will be just fine.
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