Giants Set Sights on Cy Young Winner After Adding Matt Chapman

Free agent left-hander Blake Snell.

Getty Free agent left-hander Blake Snell.

The San Francisco Giants don’t appear done pursuing free agents.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that the Giants remain interested in signing left-hander Blake Snell. That comes after San Francisco agreed to a three-year, $54-million contract with third baseman Matt Chapman on March 1.

The Giants added Chapman at the urging of new manager Bob Melvin. Chapman played for Melvin across the bay with the Oakland Athletics for the first five seasons of his career from 2017-21.

Chapman became the second client of agent Scott Boras to sign for less than originally projected in the last week. The Chicago Cubs re-signed outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger to a three-year, $80-million contract on Feb. 25.

Snell is also a Boras client. The Giants are hopeful last year’s National Cy Young Award winner’s price tag will also fall with opening day less than a month away.

Why Giants are Pursuing Blake Snell

The Giants have had interest in Snell throughout the offseason. However, their need for a starting pitcher became more urgent when right-hander Tristan Beck was diagnosed with an aneurysm in his upper right arm and scheduled for vascular surgery on March 4.

Beck’s injury leaves the Giants with a very young rotation beyond right-hander Logan Webb, who was runner-up to Snell in last year’s NL Cy Young voting. The rest of San Francisco’s projected rotation includes rookie left-hander Kyle Harrison and right-handers Jordan Hicks, Keaton Winn and Sean Hjelle.

Hicks is the only one among the four with at least one full season of major-league service time. The Giants are trying to convert Hicks from a reliever to a starter after signing him to a four-year, $44-million contract in the offseason as a free agent. In five major-league seasons, Hicks has made just eight starts, all in 2022 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Left-hander Robbie Ray (elbow) and right-hander Alex Cobb (hip) will begin the season on the injured list while recovering from surgery. Neither is expected to be ready to join the Giants until at least June.

Snell had a 14-9 record and an NL-leading 2.25 ERA in 32 starts for the Padres last season despite leading the majors with 99 walks in 180 innings. He also won the American League Cy Young in 2018 while pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

At the beginning of the offseason, Snell reportedly was looking for a nine-year, $270-million contract. He reportedly turned down a six-year, $150-million offer from the New York Yankees.

Matt Chapman Latest Add to Giants Lineup

Chapman becomes the third major addition to the lineup through free agency since San Francisco went 79-83 last season and missed the postseason for the sixth time in seven years.

Korean Baseball Organization star center fielder Jung Hoo Lee was signed to a six-year, $113-millon contract and designated hitter Jorge Soler was given a three-year, $42-million deal. Lee is expected to be the Giants’ leadoff hitter and Soler will likely bat cleanup.

Chapman’s signing allowed J.D. Davis to move into a utility role after he served as the Giants’ primary third baseman in 2022.

A concerning aspect about Chapman is that his offense has declined since 2019 when he was selected to his second All-Star Game in as many years and finished sixth in the AL MVP voting with the Athletics. In the ensuing four seasons, he has hit just .226/.319/.430, though his 109 OPS+ in that span shows he is still nine percent better than the league average.

Last year, Chapman had a .240/.330/.424 slash line and 17 homers in 140 games for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Chapman, though, remains a strong defender, including winning the fourth Gold Glove of his seven-year career. That strong defensive showing prompted the Blue Jays to offer Chapman a six-year, $120-million contract early in the offseason.

Chapman turned down the Blue Jays looking for a more lucrative contract but ended up settling for more than half as less in total value.


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