Giants sign Matt Chapman to 3-year, $54 million deal

ByBuster Olney ESPN logo
Sunday, March 3, 2024

Matt Chapman, regarded as one of the best defensive infielders in baseball, finalized a guaranteed three-year, $54 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, the team announced Sunday.

The deal includes opt-outs after the first and second year of the agreement.

Chapman gets a $2 million signing bonus and a $16 million salary this year under the deal announced Sunday, and his agreement includes a $17 million player option for 2025 with a $2 million buyout. If Chapman exercises that option, he has an $18 million player option for 2026 with a $3 million buyout. The deal includes a $20 million mutual option for 2027 with a $1 million buyout.

As a result, he could earn $20 million for one year, $38 million for two years, $54 million for three years or $73 million for four years.

Chapman's deal is very similar in structure to that of Cody Bellinger, who re-signed with the Chicago Cubs last week, with his highest salaries at the outset of the contract. Like Bellinger, Chapman also has the built-in opportunity to test the market again if he has a better season offensively than in 2023.

Chapman, who turns 31 in April, won his fourth Gold Glove Award in 2023 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Since the start of the 2018 season, he ranks first among all players at third base in defensive runs saved and is third in outs above average.

"It's nice to have him here for a number of reasons," Giants manager Bob Melvin said. "We've been talking about infield defense for a while, and it shores that up. So if you look at the way the offseason has gone and the guys we've brought in, it's been pretty impressive. We've checked a lot of boxes along the way.

"So I'm obviously very happy."

As Chapman moved into free agency this fall, however, some talent evaluators privately expressed doubts about their interest in him because of his offensive performance -- 71 homers over the past three seasons but with a .226 batting average and 537 strikeouts in 446 games.

His 2023 season was a microcosm of the good and bad he has generated at the plate: After starting well and batting .384 in April, he flatlined, generating a .205/.298/.361 slash line the rest of the way. Evaluators noted his trouble against fastballs.

"His offensive profile actually plays well in this park," Giants manager Farhan Zaidi said. "He has solid numbers at Oracle, but when you do the deeper analysis of his batted ball data and how it would play at Oracle, it's relatively favorable. ... That makes it a really good fit for us."

J.D. Davis is the incumbent at third base with the Giants, and he also can play first base and left field.

Chapman batted .307 with an .890 OPS against left-handed pitchers last year while Davis hit .247 with a .728 OPS against lefties.

Melvin said the organization still has confidence in Davis and that his attitude has been good.

"Message to J.D. yesterday, today is look, just keep playing, just keep doing what you're doing," Melvin said. "You never know how things are going to shake out. You never know what's going to happen in the spring."

Zaidi acknowledged that the Giants have a surplus of corner infield bats and still might make a few moves before the regular season starts in 3 1/2 weeks.

The Giants have had difficulty signing high-end free agents in recent winters, with their overtures to Aaron Judge and others turned down. The addition of Chapman should complement what is expected to be a good pitching staff -- including sinkerballer Logan Webb.

To open a roster spot, the Giants put right-hander Tristan Beck on the 60-day injured list with a vascular injury. Beck is set to have surgery Monday to remove an aneurysm in the upper part of his pitching arm.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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