The Blue Jays and newly acquired third baseman Matt Chapman avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $25MM contract, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. The deal will buy out Chapman’s final two arbitration seasons but does not extend Toronto’s club control over the two-time Platinum Glover. Chapman, a client of the Boras Corporation, will receive a $1MM signing bonus and consecutive salaries of $12MM on the deal, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected Chapman to earn $9.5MM this coming season, and he would’ve earned one more raise in 2023 before reaching free agency in the 2023-24 offseason. Taking into account that $9.5MM projection, Chapman’s $25MM salary guarantee effectively puts a $14.5MM price on that third-time arbitration, which seems well within the realm of plausible outcomes.
The new contract doesn’t change much in terms of Chapman’s outlook, though it gives him some financial security in the event of a major injury or further downturn at the plate. The Jays, meanwhile, get some payroll certainty not only for this season but also in 2023 — and they also avoid a need to dedicate any time or resources to arbitration talks with Chapman next winter.
Acquired last week in a trade that sent prospects Gunnar Hoglund, Kevin Smith, Zach Logue and Kirby Snead to Oakland, Chapman heads to Toronto in search of a return to his 2018-19 MVP-caliber form at the plate. A hip injury in 2020 cut the season short for Chapman and ultimately required surgery. He returned to play a mostly full slate of 151 games in 2021, but while Chapman belted 27 home runs and played his usual brand of premium defense at the hot corner, his overall production at the plate dropped as his strikeout rate rose. It’s certainly possible that the 2019 All-Star simply was n’t at 100% last season, and he’ll now set out to prove that it was the case without needing to spend much time dwelling on his contractual status.
Chapman’s new $12MM salary bumps the Blue Jays’ projected payroll up to about $170MM, by Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez, and it gives them about $190MM worth of luxury-tax obligations. That’ll establish a new franchise-record mark in terms of current payroll, although the Jays are still about $40MM shy of the new $230MM luxury-tax threshold.