The Blue Jays continued positioning themselves as a serious contender on Wednesday morning, swinging a deal to acquire three-time Gold Glove winning third baseman Matt Chapman from the Athletics for utility player Kevin Smith, left-handed reliever Kirby Snead, and pitching prospects Zach Logue and Gunnar Hoglund.
Chapman is coming off the worst offensive season of his five-year career, during which he posted a .210/.314/.403 slash line with 27 homers. No matter whether he rediscovers his ability to make consistent contact, he should provide a nice jolt of power to the Blue Jays’ lineup — one that is much-needed after Marcus Semien (45 homers in 2021) departed in free agency. Chapman’s defense (10 defensive runs saved at third base in 2021, 79 for his career) should also be extremely impactful as Cavan Biggio moves back to second base to replace Semien.
Smith, 25, has the most major league experience of any player heading back to Oakland, and even that’s not much. The 25-year-old former fourth-round pick had an .094/.194/.188 slash line with one homer over 18 games for the Blue Jays in 2021, seeing action at first base, third base, and in left field.
Snead, 27, was very effective in limited action after debuting late last July. In seven games, he had a 2.35 ERA with seven strikeouts and two walks in 7.2 innings.
Logue, an undersized lefty at 6-foot and 165 pounds, appears to be just about major league ready after posting a 3.67 ERA with 144 strikeouts and 27 walks over 125 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last year. Especially as the Athletics continue to explore trading more of their veteran starting pitchers, he looks like a candidate to impact Oakland’s rotation at some point this season.
Hoglund, 22, was selected 19th overall by the Blue Jays in last summer’s draft. He has yet to pitch professionally but had a 2.87 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 17 walks in 62.2 innings in 2021 at Ole Miss. This is the second straight year that the Blue Jays have traded their most recent first-round pick, as they dealt 2020 first-rounder Austin Martin to the Twins to acquire José Berriós prior to the deadline.
The Blue Jays have had an extremely active offseason, signing Berriós to a long-term extension while adding reliever Yimi García and starters Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi. But it remains to be seen whether their pitching additions and the Chapman trade will be enough to offset the losses of Semien, an MVP candidate, and Robbie Ray, the 2021 AL Cy Young winner, in free agency.