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Blue Jays acquire star third baseman Matt Chapman

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DUNEDIN — The Blue Jays’ status as a serious contender took a step up on Wednesday with the acquisition of Matt Chapman, one of baseball’s best defensive third basemen.

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In fact, the three-time Gold Glove Award winner with the Oakland Athletics could give Toronto one of the strongest infields in MLB.

Back in Oakland, a solid group of prospects includes right-handed pitcher Gunnar Hogland, shortstop Kevin Smith, left-handed starter Zach Logue and left-handed reliever Kirby Snead.

On Tuesday, Jays general manager Ross Atkins promised the team would add an infielder ahead of the season and now he’s done it with yet another big touch.

Chapman, 28, is one of the best defensemen in the hot corner and gives the Jays a dependable defenseman at critical position for the first time since Josh Donaldson left the team in 2018.

The Jays had been linked to free agent first baseman Freddie Freeman, but the biggest need was still at third. The Chapman acquisition allows Vlad Guerrero Jr. to stay at first base and with Bo Bichette at shortstop. The second can now be a platoon situation with Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal.

Chapman is even more attractive to the Jays given his salary situation. He is under club control for the next two seasons.

The Jays have certainly done well with acquisitions from the A’s in the past — Marcus Semien last year and Donaldson ahead of the 2015 season.

Chapman is well regarded in the league, a Jays player told the Toronto Sun on Wednesday.

“You can tell by talking to him when he’s on base,” the Jays player said of the star. “And Marcus Semien spoke very well of himself.”

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