MLB Rumors: Cubs have company for obvious free-agent fit

The Chicago Cubs may have competition for a free agent that would fill an immediate need.

Chicago Cubs Introduce Shōta Imanaga
Chicago Cubs Introduce Shōta Imanaga / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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Chicago Cubs fans had to wait a bit for the team to make their first big free agency splash. The expectations were high after the Cubs signed manager Craig Counsell away from the Milwaukee Brewers. Their first big signing happened in the New Year, signing Japanese pitcher Shota Imanaga to a four-year, $53 million contract. But what is next for the Cubs?

The Cubs do have a need at third base, and have been linked to the Toronto Blue Jays' Matt Chapman. Adding a Gold Glover to improve their defense in the infield, it appears they will have some competition.

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the San Francisco Giants are viewed as "the best fit" for Chapman.

"The Giants – who were also mentioned as a serious Bellinger suitor prior to their signing of Jung Hoo Lee – are the team many consider to be the best fit for Chapman, a four-time Gold Glove winner and the 2019 AL Platinum Glove winner," writes Feinsand.

Giants viewed as 'best fit' for Cubs free agent target Matt Chapman

The Giants were looking to land their big free agent target this offseason after missing out on the likes of Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper in previous years. Even though they did miss out on the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they did make some solid signings. First, they brought in KBO outfielder Jung Hoo-Lee to a six-year, $113 million contract. Then, they signed closer Jordan Hicks to a four-year, $44 million, but are moving him into the starting rotation.

There are still plenty of moves for the Giants to make, and good players available. Bringing in Chapman would be a solid move, considering he won the Gold Glove four-times in his career. Feinsand also brings up the fact that Chapman played under manager Bob Melvin during their time with the Oakland Athletics, so the familiarity is there.

This past season with the Toronto Blue Jays, Chapman recorded a .240 batting average, a .330 on-base percentage, a .424 slugging percentage, 17 home runs, 54 RBI, 66 runs, 122 hits, 165 strikeouts, and 62 walks in 509 at-bats (140 games). At third base, Chapman recorded a .968 fielding percentage (114 putouts, 253 assists, 12 errors in 379 chances).

As for the Cubs, Feinsand says that they could be a "potential landing spot" for Chapman while throwing in the caveat of it being likely if the team doesn't bring back Cody Bellinger. The 2019 NL MVP saw success in his first year with the Cubs, where he slashed .307/.356/.525 while recording 26 home runs, 95 runs, 97 RBI, and 153 hits in 499 at-bats (130 games).

But, as of now, Bellinger is seeking a $200 million deal and no team is willing to match that asking price, per Feinsand.

Cubs fans are waiting for the next big move from team president Jed Hoyer. Chapman is a name to keep an eye on, but the Giants may be their main competition.

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