The Mets overpaid for Chris Bassitt

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The New York Mets made a trade to acquire Chris Bassitt from the Oakland A’s on Saturday night. In return, they sent a pair of pitching prospects in J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller.

That’s a lot to give up for a #3 starter. I think the Mets overpaid for Bassitt.

Let’s start with the obvious: Chris Bassitt makes this rotation, and this team, better. Last year in 27 starts and 157.1 innings, he gave up 127 hits, 55 earned runs, 39 walks, and struck out 159 batters. His ERA was 3.15, his FIP was 3.34, his WHIP was 1.05, and his ERA+ was 130.

Bassitt is a funky pitcher who excels at limiting hard contact. He finished in the 88th percentile in hard hit rate, and in the 76th percentile in average exit velocity. He also finished in the 88th percentile in walk rate.

I like the addition of Bassitt for another reason: he’s the rare pitcher with opposite splits. Most right-handed pitchers are at their best vs. right-handed hitters, but Bassitt is better against lefties. In 2021, righties slashed .238/.299/.340/.639, while lefties slashed just .196/.255/.357/.612. Many felt the Mets needed to go after a lefty, such as Bassitt’s former A’s teammate Sean Manaea, but in a sense, they now have one. As Jerry Blevins said on Shea Station, “[Bassitt] is the most left-handed right-handed pitcher I’ve ever seen in my life.”

The problem is, he only has one year left on his contract, and the Mets had to give up a lot.

J.T. Ginn was the Mets’ second round pick in 2020. He underwent Tommy John surgery just before the draft, so he didn’t pitch in 2020, but he looked strong in 2021. According to MLB Pipeline, he has three above average pitches: a fastball and slider, each rated at 60 on the scouting scale, and a changeup at 55. He was the Mets’ #6 overall prospect.

In 2021, Ginn started the year in Low A St. Lucie and got promoted to High A Brooklyn. In total, he made 18 starts and pitched 92 innings. He gave up just 75 hits, 31 earned runs, 22 walks, and struck out 81 batters. His ERA was 3.03 and his WHIP was 1.05. He only gave up three homers, all at Low A. He’s 22 years old and expected to come up next year.

Adam Oller started last year in AA Binghamton and eventually got promoted to AAA Syracuse. In total, he made 23 starts and pitched 120 innings. He gave up 93 hits, 46 earned runs, 47 walks, and struck out 138 batters. His ERA was 3.45 and his WHIP was 1.17. Oller was named the Mets Organizational Pitcher of the Year. He is on the older side for a prospect at 27, but he should be up in the Big Leagues this year.

Bassitt is a good pitcher who makes this team better. It’s just frustrating to see a really good prospect get moved for one year of a #3 starter. This minor league system was already thin, and now the only elite pitcher in the Mets’ top 10 prospects is Matt Allan, who probably won’t be ready until late 2024 or early 2025. This move is yet another indication that the Mets are fully bought-in to winning now.

Maybe to make up for the lost prospects and weak farm system, the Mets will look to extend Bassitt. He just turned 33, so an extension would start in his age 34 season. That shouldn’t be too expensive, so that's a possibility the Mets could pursue.

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