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Elephant Rumblings: Matt Chapman turned down 10-year extension from A’s after 2019 season

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Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

It’s the weekend, Athletics Nation!

Yesterday the A’s won their first game of the spring, showing off a bevy of their new talent. Baseball games are happening and everything seems that much better because of it. After a busy week of offseason transactions and with a few more potentially on the horizon, it’s nice to at least be in the regular baseball routine.

In the aftermath of being traded to the Blue Jays earlier this week, new information about Matt Chapman’s time with the A’s came to light yesterday via Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. After the 2019 season the A’s reportedly offered Chapman a 10-year, $150 million contact extension. If agreed to, this would have been the largest contact in Oakland A’s history, more than double the $66 million Eric Chavez signed for in 2004. The contract would have covered Chapman’s final pre-arbitration year at league minimum, his 3 arbitration years, and six additional years he will now be a free agent for.

Turning down a major offer like this shouldn’t be too surprising for Chapman as he is represented by Scott Boras, who is notorious for getting his star players paid in free agency rather than getting locked down in extensions. Boras has not been shy about the fact that Chapman was aiming toward testing free agency. The true potential for Matt to match or exceed this offer from the A’s will be determined from the next two seasons with the Jays. If his hip is as recovered as he tells Rosenthal and his hitting returns to the calibre of his offer year, perhaps getting a better payday will be doable in 2024.

This offer backs up a lot of the A’s front office’s talk back in 2019, locking down fan-favourite talent while believing to then be a year away from breaking ground on a new ballpark. Of course, 2020 came along and spoiled many best-laid plans, pushing back key votes on the Howard Terminal project that have only just happened two years later. The contention window for the A’s core headed by Chapman was also focused to coincide with the original plan for a 2023 stadium opening. Instead, we now face the usual A’s cycle of a rebuilding effort, with that previous core being traded away. The next wave of big A’s will hopefully see their popularity rise in a Howard Terminal park, and perhaps we may see them get offered similar high-profile deals.

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