The Oakland Athletics acquired another pitcher over the weekend. After agreeing to terms with free agent starter Alex Wood, the A's added another arm for the rotation by bringing Ross Stripling from across the Bay in a trade with the San Francisco Giants.
Stripling is owed $12.5 million in 2024, of which the Giants are on the hook for just $3.25 million. This $9.25 million could be invested this offseason. In fact, Bob Nightengale of USA Today suspects that San Francisco may have their sights set on one of the high-dollar free agents remaining on the open market.
According to FanGraphs, the Giants' estimated 2024 payroll is sitting at $155 million. That's over $40 million less than San Francisco's 2023 payroll, suggesting the Giants are strategically placed to strike a deal with Matt Chapman.
The San Francisco Giants haven't done enough this offseason
The San Francisco Giants have been on the lookout for a top-flight player since last offseason. San Fran failed to coax Aaron Judge out of the Bronx, and then bungled signing free agent Carlos Correa. Earlier this offseason, the Giants missed out on Shohei Ohtani, and, outside of Jung Hoo Lee, have not found any free agents willing to come to the Bay Area.
San Francisco did a nice job of supplementing those free agent misses by trading for Robbie Ray. The Giants are hopeful that transforming Jordan Hicks from a reliever into a starter will help to balance out their rotation that features a Cy Young candidate in Logan Webb. The Giants also have one of the best closers in the game, Camilo Doval, anchoring the backend of the bullpen.
But San Francisco's lineup has a lot holes. Currently, the Giants Opening Day third baseman would likely be J.D. Davis. While the former New York Mets' infielder enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2023, betting on that type of success again in 2024 seems like a fool's errand.
The San Francisco Giants need to sign Matt Chapman
Super agent Scott Boras has held up the market this offseason. Currently, Boras has four clients (Chapman, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Cody Bellinger) who have yet to sign despite the fact that they represent the upper-tier of this year's free agent class.
After trading for Ray, the Giants don't need to go after Snell or Montgomery. Bellinger would be a fine addition, but newly-signed outfielder Lee and LaMont Wade Jr. would appear to have both center field and first base locked up.
Adding Chapman would bring a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman into the Giants clubhouse and a consistent bat to the lineup. Last season, Chapman hit .240/.330/.424 with a wRC+ of 110 according to FanGraphs. While it was a bit of a down year offensively, Chapman's defense was as good as ever.
For his career, Chapman is worth 92 defensive runs saved (DRS) and 53 outs above average (OAA) while playing the hot corner. The 30-year-old plays elite defense and has four Gold Gloves to prove it.
The free agent contract that Dansby Swanson signed with the Chicago Cubs last winter is probably a good place to start in terms of what Chapman could be looking for on the open market. Swanson, who was two years younger than Chapman when he signed his contract, inked a seven-year, $177 million contract.
Would a five-year, $130 million offer be enough for Matt Chapman to sign on the dotted line with the San Francisco Giants? After dealing Ross Stripling to the Oakland A's, the Giants have cleared some more space from the ledger.