Whenever you have the opportunity to acquire a Gold Glove third baseman, you simply have to … and then you move him to shortstop. Uhh, wait … this wasn’t exactly what we were talking about when we said “get good players and figure out the logjams/lineup construction later.”
The New York Yankees desperately need to fill a number of holes this offseason, but none bigger than the shortstop position. They missed out on three of the top-five options available this offseason but still have a chance with Carlos Correa and Trevor Story.
But has anything thus far convinced you general manager Brian Cashman will sign either star? Being optimistic is one thing — but don’t be delusional. The constant hype around the organization’s top shortstop prospects (Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza) steer you in a completely different direction.
Somehow, that brings us to Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman, who figures to be one of many talented players ready to be traded once the lockout is lifted.
According to the latest buzz, per ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Yankees have “internally discussed” acquiring Chapman and playing him at shortstop as the 2022 stopgap option before Volpe or Peraza arrive to MLB.
I’m sorry … what? The Yankees are … six years late here?
Yankees Rumors: Can Matt Chapman play shortstop?
Chapman has played four total innings at shortstop in his five-year MLB career, all of which came this past season. The A’s considered using him at the position before the 2016 season, but ultimately decided against it. Chapman has since won three Gold Gloves at the hot corner.
If the Yankees were considering a Chapman trade of any kind, why wouldn’t they just acquire him, put him at third, and move Gio Urshela to shortstop as the one-year stopgap? Urshela proved in 2021 that he can hold down the fort, logging 200 innings (28 games) at the position, only making two errors. It’s not the best plan, but it’s better than this … right?
On top of that, it’s common knowledge Chapman is better at third. Unless the Yankees are considering trading Urshela for something else, there’s no reason to go ahead with this plan reported by Olney.
If this is true, it’s sadly yet another example of this front office doing unnecessary mental gymnastics. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole in the name of minimizing spending and not taking a bigger risk?
The only silver lining here is that with the increase in shifts across the league, Chapman’s been playing some version of shortstop for at least the last few years. He’s lined up all over the left side of the field in any given at-bat. In 2021 alone, the A’s shifted the sixth-most in MLB.
But is that enough evidence to move one of the best third basemen in the game to another, more difficult position that requires range and movement?