3 reasons why KC Royals fans shouldn't want Matt Chapman

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KC Royals fans welcomed the relative spending spree from their favorite franchise this offseason. They did not add any top-tier players, but players like Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha are definitive upgrades from the 2023 roster. There is time for more free agency additions this offseason, but frankly, there isn't much room. The Royals have a strong infield, flawed outfield, and greatly improved the bullpen and rotation. There continue to be calls for Kansas City to pursue Matt Chapman, but the fit is far from perfect.

Matt Chapman is among baseball's best free agents left. But the Royals should stay far from him.

There are plenty of reasons for different teams to add the four-time Gold Glove winner, just not the Royals. Here are just three reasons why Kansas City should not pursue the big-money third baseman.

1. The price tag is more than money.

Matt Chapman
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Where to even begin on Chapman's price tag, causing issues with his free agency? First and foremost, he declined a one-year, $20.325 million qualifying offer from his previous team. That means the Royals would "lose [their] third-highest selection in the following year's draft," according to MLB.com. That is not a third-round pick, but the third-highest pick a team has, period. So that would have been the 66th overall pick in the 2023 draft for the Royals. That draft penalty is steep before considering the potential contract. The teams with shallow systems and little room for error would be gambling more by signing a qualifying-offer player.

Then comes Chapman's agent, Scott Boras. I know of no single sports agent that small-market fans despise more than Boras. He is great at what he does, which is getting his clients paid. That is something cash-strapped teams cannot do, so Boras leads his clients to the money and away from frugal teams. Kansas City, in comparison to its history, has not been frugal this offseason. But swinging for Chapman is another financial level that the Royals are not ready to reach.

The last is the actual contract itself. Chapman already turned down a contract "in the neighborhood of $100 million over four or five years," according to TSN's Scott Mitchell. The team acquiring Chapman will likely surpass that overall value, reaching $150 million with a five-plus-year commitment. The Royals have never sniffed a contract, free agent or not, in that tax bracket ever.

2. The roster imbalance

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Personally, this is the biggest issue for me. Where would you focus if you, a Royals baseball enthusiast, could add one player to a record-setting deal? Would it be the rotation where Kansas City's starters ranked among the league's worst? Would it be the outfield, a position lacking a well-rounded player? Those are the two positions that come to mind first. The idea of spending historic money in a position of relative strength is beyond me.

I understand that Maikel Garcia was not the perfect player at the hot corner. His defense was on a Gold Glove level away from his natural position, no less. But his bat leaves much to be desired. His .639 OPS, coupled with a .071 ISO, is not prototypical production from a third baseman. But I, along with most Royals fans, am on board with Kansas City deploying Maikel Garcia as the everyday third baseman once again.

For all you lineup savants out there, Chapman is a righty too. This team needs another left-handed bat off the bench, and Chapman is not that, nor does he free up a candidate. He throws off the balance of the 2024 Royals, from payroll to team building and everywhere in between.

3. Lack of a clutch gene

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Do you want a random observation about Chapman? He is one of the worst batters in the MLB when it comes to clutch time. That stuff that you went in the backyard and dreamed about as a kid? The numbers say Chapman struggles in those high-leverage, legacy-defining moments. Not just the numbers, but Blue Jays fans as well.

If your team pays top dollar for a player, there are some traits I want to see. Seeing Chapman's inability to produce when it mattered most last year is troubling, to say the least. He had 130 plate appearances that were deemed high-leverage situations last season, according to Baseball Reference. In those chances, he had a pitiful .521 OPS, no home runs, and 37 strikeouts. I get it; these are rare occurrences for recent Royals teams. But if a franchise wants Chapman to come in and act like a franchise savior, he has to defy his own history.

FanGraphs gave Chapman a -1.70 clutch score in 2023, the fifth-worst among all qualified MLB batters. This is not just a recent thing, as he has a career -2.49 score across seven MLB seasons. WPA is a fickle statistic, but it is another against Chapman nonetheless.