Questionable third base ‘upgrade’ doesn’t make any sense for the Phillies

MLB Trade Rumors included the Phillies as one of the teams that could potentially sign defensive standout third baseman Matt Chapman. But does that really make any sense?

Free agent third baseman Matt Chapman doesn't make any sense for the Philadelphia Phillies
Free agent third baseman Matt Chapman doesn't make any sense for the Philadelphia Phillies / David Berding/GettyImages

Pitchers and catchers have finally reported, and the first spring training game is just mere days away, but there are still a lot of high-profile free agents left to be signed. From All-Star position players like Cody Bellinger to the reigning Cy Young winner, Blake Snell, there are players who can surely help this Phillies team if Dave Dombrowski decides to make a move.

But recently, Anthony Franco of MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Matt Chapman, the defensive standout and former All-Star third baseman, could possibly end up in Philadelphia. Although Chapman’s stellar defense would surely be a huge boost to the Phillies, there are a number of reasons why there is very little chance the 30-year-old will end up in red pinstripes.

Probably the number one reason and biggest hurdle is the Phillies are set at third base with their homegrown, 27-year-old third baseman, Alec Bohm.

Alec Bohm is the Phillies' third baseman of the present

While Alec Bohm is not known for his defensive abilities, he has significantly improved at the hot corner since his “I [expletive] hate this place” days at the start of the 2022 season. He was serviceable at third base in 2023, recording just four errors in 132 attempts for a .978 fielding percentage. He definitely made more tough plays on a regular basis than during any year prior.

But Bohm makes his money with his bat, and he showed why in 2023, slashing .274/.327/.437 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI — both of which are career highs for the four-year major leaguer. He also seems to come up big in the game's brightest moments.

According to Baseball Reference, in high- and medium-leverage situations he is batting .293/.331/.415 and .286/.342/.488 respectively, while in low-leverage situations he hits just .252/.312/.401. He has been a versatile tool for manager Rob Thomson, batting in seven different positions in the lineup, mostly in the sixth and seventh spots, but also in the two-hole and even cleanup.

The Phillies and Bohm went to arbitration, which Bohm won, so he is on a one-year deal worth $4 million, but the expectation is they will extend him beyond this year.

Aidan Miller is the Phillies' third baseman of the future

That extension could lead to the second main reason why Chapman doesn’t make much sense for the Phillies. That reason is MLB Pipeline’s new 61st-ranked prospect and the Phillies' No. 3 prospect in 2023, Aidan Miller.

The Phillies drafted Miller with the 27th overall pick in last year's draft, and he has done nothing but impress since. The right-handed 19-year-old stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 205 lbs. He uses every inch of that frame to drive the ball and hit for power. While he played shortstop in high school, the Phillies are looking for him to be their third baseman of the future. According to MLB Pipeline, on the 80-grade scale, he scores an astonishing 60 in power with a 50-grade hit tool. It’s said he has plus-plus bat speed that allows him to turn on high-velocity pitches.

He has impressed the baseball world so much that he is one of just 17 players drafted in 2023 to make the MLB Top 100 Prospect list already, despite being drafted 27th. The Phillies organization is incredibly high on Miller, and fans are already dreaming of him at the hot corner.

Chapman doesn't fit the Phillies current build

The last reason Chapman doesn’t fit the bill for the Phillies is his lack of offensive contributions. He hit just .240/.330/.424 with 17 home runs, 54 RBI, and four steals. That matches his career average, being a .240 hitter over his seven-year tenure in the big leagues. The Phillies are looking for young hitters who can be cornerstones for this franchise, and Chapman doesn’t match those needs.  

While Matt Chapman is a good player and a terrific fielder, he doesn’t make sense for this iteration of the Philadelphia Phillies.