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Should Matt Chapman move to shortstop?

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It’s not a new idea. But now another team has talked about it!

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
Chapman was listed as the “third baseman” when he turned this double play at second base
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For years, Oakland A’s fans have discussed the idea of Matt Chapman moving to shortstop. It exists somewhere between running joke and legitimate suggestion.

After all, Chapman has basically maxed out his current home on the defensive spectrum. He’s otherworldly at third base, to the extent that he’s won two Platinum Glove awards as the league’s best fielder at any position. His incredible range, reflexes, and arm seem like they’d play well anywhere. Why not try moving him up to a tougher and more valuable position?

We don’t have to entirely use our imaginations to picture this. Chapman has occasionally played shortstop in real life, filling in for 10 innings over the past couple years. What’s more, even when he’s listed at third base, heavy shifts often have him standing in the spot usually occupied by a shortstop, giving him unofficial experience there.

The reason this topic comes up again now is that it was mentioned in a recent rumor. On the Michael Kay Show last week, Buster Olney of ESPN said this:

“If I were to guess, I think [the Yankees will] wind up with one of the Oakland guys. Like I think that Matt Chapman for example, maybe you acquire him to be the one-year shortstop. I know he’s a third baseman, he’s exceptional, but if you added Matt Chapman you would be improving your defense on the left side of the infield. And I know that the Yankees have talked a little bit about this internally, ‘look, can Matt Chapman play shortstop?’” I think they wind up with one of those guys, maybe it’s [Matt Olson].”

Interesting! It’s more of a thought than an actual rumor, and it’s not news that the A’s and Yankees might match up well as trade partners this winter, and nothing can happen for a while anyway while the league is in lockout. My primary point of emphasis here isn’t the possibility of Chapman to New York.

Rather, it’s interesting that another team has at least discussed the concept of Chapman at short. Would other teams perhaps consider the same concept? If so, does that affect his trade value? And if he ends up staying in Oakland to begin 2022, might the A’s think about switching him to SS themselves?

And of course the main question: Would it work? Would Chapman be good at short, or at least good enough to justify the move?

I’m not pretending to know the answer. My first instinct is if it ain’t broke don’t fix it; if somebody is the best at something, don’t ask them to do something different. On the other hand, my next instinct is to maximize value however possible, and if he could be just pretty good defensively at short with his career 120 wRC+ at the plate then it may be worth it. I’d probably keep him at third. Unless I heard we were moving him to short, in which case sure why not.

What do you think, Athletics Nation? Let’s discuss Chapman, shortstop, and trades in the comments!

Poll

Matt Chapman?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Keep him at 3B
    (352 votes)
  • 28%
    Move him to SS
    (139 votes)
491 votes total Vote Now