Matt Chapman couldn’t be less of a fit for the Detroit Tigers

Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two / David Berding/GettyImages

Whether or not you agree with Scott Harris and the Detroit Tigers' front office's approach to the offseason, no one can say that they haven't stuck to their guns. With only one offensive addition in Mark Canha to supplement the young core, things on the field will look almost identical to the way they did in 2023, for better or for worse.

That means no straightforward solution to the Tigers' revolving door issue at third base, which the front office doesn't seem to view as a detriment as much as fans do. Although Matt Chapman, an elite defensive third basemen who's still a free agent as of now, was a name that garnered some excitement at the beginning of the offseason, Chapman is likely to return to the Blue Jays or explore San Francisco, and the Tigers haven't even gone as far as expressing interest in his services.

Chris McCosky of The Detroit News also soundly shut down the possibility of Chapman coming to Detroit (subscription required), unfortunately confirming what Tigers fans have read between the lines as the offseason has shaken out. The Tigers seem to be mostly done with making additions.

Why free agent Matt Chapman won't be signing with the Detroit Tigers

McCosky noted that money isn't what's keeping the Tigers from signing Chapman, who he reports is seeking a one-year, $20 million deal at this point in a limited market. Instead, the Tigers don't want to block top infield prospect Colt Keith, their No. 2 prospect last year, from a major league landing this year. The reminder of Keith's arrival is comforting, as it means that Matt Vierling probably won't have to contort himself to perform at third base for much longer in 2024. The Tigers' Opening Day roster seems flexible at the moment, leaving a lot of room for prospects like Keith, Wilmer Flores, and Justyn Henry-Malloy to show up and impress at spring training to try to earn a spot.

Chapman was always something of a pipe dream, and while it's a little disheartening to know that a big name signing who would certainly do good work for the Tigers at third isn't in the cards, at least they're not flip-flopping on their objectives for the offseason. Letting players like Veirling, Zach McKinstry, and Andy Ibañez stay flexible won't do much in the way of providing consistency, but it will give some exciting young talent some room to breathe as they venture into the major leagues.