The biggest move that the New York Mets have made this offseason was signing Max Scherzer to a three-year $130 million-dollar deal. He's a top three pitcher in the game, and he is paired with the best pitcher in all of baseball, Jacob deGrom at the top of the Mets rotation. After those two aces, things were questionable at best.
Last season, the most consistent starter in the Mets rotation was Marcus Stroman. He was the only Met to make at least 30 starts. He is now a Chicago Cub. Noah Syndergaard was supposed to come back after throwing two innings in two seasons and fill a big hole in the rotation. He ended up rejecting the Mets qualifying offer and is now a Los Angeles Angel.
The Mets had deGrom, Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker locked into rotation spots already. For the fifth spot they had some options. They could use someone like Tylor Megill or David Peterson for that spot. They could sign a free agent to fill that spot. Or, they could trade for an arm.
The Mets made the right decision trading for Chris Bassitt instead of signing a lesser arm in free agency.
When the lockout ended, the legitimate options to fill a rotation spot in free agency were slim in my opinion and all had question marks. Clayton Kershaw never seemed realistic and he's getting older with an injury history. Carlos Rodon was the most intriguing option to me, but he also has a very extensive injury history. Yusei Kikuchi has been underwhelming in the MLB and would have been an unnecessary risk to take in my opinion.
Tylor Megill and David Peterson are both capable fifth-starter options. However, they'd be even better in the AAA rotation, serving as much-needed depth when the Mets have injury concerns with guys like deGrom, Carrasco, Walker, and even Scherzer at his age.
This made me think that the Mets would be better served finding a starter in the trade market and they did exactly that, trading J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller to the Athletics in exchange for Chris Bassitt.
Using the eye-test, Chris Bassitt doesn't wow you. He averages about 93 mph on his fastball, nothing too crazy. However, his numbers would say he is a very good pitcher.
This past season Bassitt went 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 27 starts. He struck out 159 batters in 157.1 innings pitched, a 9.1 K/9. That is a really impressive number for someone without crazy stuff. Bassitt also did a great job limiting walks (2.2 BB/9) and home runs (0.9 HR/9).
With Bassitt, the Mets are acquiring a legitimate middle of the rotation arm. He is better than anyone they could've signed in free agency. He lengthens the Mets rotation out and gives them an arm they can rely on to give them a quality outing every fifth day. Bassitt averaged 5.8 innings per start last season and went seven innings or more 11 times.
The 33 year old only has one more year left on his deal which is unfortunate, but it did lessen the price it took to acquire him. J.T. Ginn is one of the Mets top pitching prospects, but I think that speaks more to where the Mets are with their farm system than his talent. Adam Oller had a great season and is a great story but is 27 with no big-league experience. The Mets really didn't give up very much to get a guy who was an all-star and a top-10 finisher in the American League Cy Young balloting.
Bassitt is also making significantly less money than Kikuchi and Rodon are this season, which will help the Mets potentially sign or acquire another really good player or two. The offseason is far from over, which is super exciting.
The Mets have a veteran led staff with proven success at the big league level. Bassitt is the third piece to what is probably the best top three in a rotation in baseball, and makes the Mets just that much better.