WYMAN AND BOB

Do the Mariners need Matt Chapman to shore up third base?

Feb 27, 2024, 11:23 AM

Seattle Mariners Matt Chapman...

Matt Chapman of the Toronto Blue Jays during a 2023 game at Dodger Stadium. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After starting the offseason by shedding payroll, the Seattle Mariners front office has spent the past few months adding at second base, designated hitter, the corner outfield and the bullpen.

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But third base remains a huge question mark after the club traded third baseman Eugenio Suárez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in November for backup catcher Seby Zavala and right-hander Carlos Vargas. In recent weeks, rumors have swirled that the Mariners could add at third base by signing free-agent slugger Matt Chapman.

But on Monday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, co-host Dave Wyman shared why he simply doesn’t see the Mariners pursuing Chapman, who is represented by star agent Scott Boras.

“I just don’t feel like it’s going to happen,” Wyman said. “I feel like they’re done right now. Maybe they’ll do something at the (July 30 trade) deadline if needed.

“I feel like there’s a hole there, but for the most part I feel pretty good about this team.”

The situation at third base became more problematic when newly acquired third baseman Luis Urías arrived to spring training with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. According to Seattle Sports’ Shannon Drayer, Urías had yet to throw in drills as of Monday.

Urías, 26, struggled mightily last season during stints with the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox, hitting .194 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 52 games. And he continued to struggle during the offseason in the Mexican Pacific Winter League, hitting .177 with two homers and nine RBIs in 24 games. The Mariners are hoping Urías can recapture his form from 2021 with the Brewers when he posted a .789 OPS with 23 home runs over 150 games.

The plan is to use Josh Rojas, who mainly played second base after the Mariners acquired him from the D-Backs last year at the trade deadline, as a platoon at third with Urias. Rojas, 29, posted a .272/.321/.400 slash last season in 46 games with the Mariners.

Bob Stelton didn’t seem thrilled with the platoon plan.

“That’s a power position and he’s not a power hitter,” Stelton said of Rojas. “His career high in home runs is 11. Urías is guy who is dealing with a shoulder injury or something going on right now… That feels like a potential problem at third base. I don’t feel awesome about third base.”

Is Matt Chapman a fit for Seattle Mariners?

Chapman is far from perfect. The 30 year old posted a .240/.330/.424 slash line, 17 homers and 54 RBIs last season in 140 games with the Toronto Blue Jays. He struck out 165 times, which could discourage the Mariners from making a move after they spent the offseason retooling the lineup with more contact hitters. But Chapman posted a 4.4 WAR, in large part due to his elite defense at third base. Chapman has won four Gold Gloves during his seven-year MLB career, including last season.

“I’d say Chapman would be a great fit if they were to make it happen because of his defense,” Stelton said. “And the M’s wouldn’t need superstar-level offense from him.”

With a month to go before opening day, Chapman will likely sign soon with a team after fellow Boras client Cody Bellinger inked a three-year, $80 million deal with the Chicago Cubs over the weekend. MLB Network reporter Jon Morosi, a weekly guest with Wyman and Bob, said he believes the San Francisco Giants are the most likely landing spot for Chapman.

Previously: Could Matt Chapman ‘complete’ Seattle Mariners’ roster?

Stelton said he already thought the chances of Seattle signing Chapman were low before talking to Ryan Divish, who covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times and didn’t make it sound like the Mariners were a likely landing spot for Chapman.

“If they were to get Matt Chapman, that would be huge,” Stelton said of the Mariners. “But I put it at 5% before, and then we (heard from) Divish … which brings it down to 2%.”

Hear the full Wyman and Bob discussion about Matt Chapman and the Seattle Mariners’ third base situation in the podcast at this link or the player near the top of this post.

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Do the Mariners need Matt Chapman to shore up third base?