Chapman's strange free agency leads to ‘best opportunity' with Giants

Chapman's strange free agency leads to ‘best opportunity' with Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

This past MLB offseason unfolded in an unusual manner, with a handful of marquee free agents still unsigned through the early stages of spring training.

Newly signed Giants third baseman Matt Chapman was among the big-name players still available late into the offseason before San Francisco inked him to what was announced as a one-year $18 million dollar contract, which includes player-options after the 2024 and 2025 MLB seasons.

During Chapman's introductory press conference on Monday, the Giants infielder confirmed the free-agent market's peculiar development throughout the offseason affected his own contract negotiations.

"It was definitely a strange market this year, and the free-agent process was a little abnormal," Chapman told reporters. "Our goal was to either get a long-term contract that we felt that I was worth, and if not get the short-term contract with opt-outs and bet on myself."

Chapman also revealed that he dealt with a hand injury during the 2023 MLB season, which impacted his performance and subsequently affected his value on the open market after his offensive production dipped.

"Last year, I kind of played through a hand injury for a lot of the year, so it wasn't the strongest year in some people's eyes, so I wanted to make sure that if I was going to do something long-term, that I was going to get the value that I'm worth," Chapman explained. "I'm super excited to be here. I'm super excited about the opportunity and I got a good feeling about it."

After spending the first five seasons of his career playing for manager Bob Melvin in Oakland, Chapman now is reunited with his former skipper on the other side of the Bay.

Chapman explained that as much as he enjoyed his time with the Toronto Blue Jays over the last two seasons, San Francisco presented him with an opportunity that made the most sense for him.

"This was the best opportunity that I had," Chapman told reporters. "It checked all the boxes. Obviously, I enjoyed my time in Toronto, but this was the best opportunity for me in many ways, so it just made the most sense."

Chapman has made a name for himself as one of the preeminent defensive infielders of his generation. The 30-year-old has won four Gold Gloves and two Platinum Gloves, immediately giving the Giants' infield a much-needed level of defensive dependability at one of their corner infield spots.

While last season was a down year in terms of offensive production -- which might be a direct result of the aforementioned hand injury -- Chapman has proven to be a reliable bat in the past, hitting over 20 home runs in four of the six MLB seasons he's registered more than 150 at-bats.

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