Chris Bassitt bloomed late in Oakland and could now be on the move
If you weren’t familiar with Chris Bassitt until last season or you’re even seeing his name for the first time, don’t sweat it. He wasn’t the young prized starting pitcher others on this list were at one point for the Athletics. He was a 16th round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox that the Athletics added in a trade several years ago.
Against the odds, Bassitt has turned into a pretty stellar starting pitcher. Lifetime, including a few games with the White Sox, he is 31-25 with a 3.47 ERA. The last two seasons have been especially productive. In the shortened 2020 season, Bassitt managed to go 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 11 starts. This past year, in 27 starts, Bassitt was 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA. He would go on to finish tenth in the Cy Young vote after an eighth-place finish the season prior.
Like Manaea, Bassitt needs to be on the move this winter. He’s a free agent after 2022 which has him in the rental category for a team like the Mets that could pursue.
Bassitt is the same age as the other two Athletics players the Mets already added (Canha and Marte) which could give them 99 years of life experience if he becomes the next 33-year-old the team decides to add to the 2022 roster. Even though his last two seasons have been really good, Bassitt is a little older and not going to cost a fortune. Although I don’t think the Mets would do it, a blockbuster move with both Manaea and Bassitt in it could completely change a team’s starting rotation.
Finally, the Mets should take a look at the other lefty reliever in free agency, Jake Diekman
There is no shortage of possible Athletics players for the Mets to consider. A few other arms are possibilities but I’m going to stop with this final piece, free agent lefty Jake Diekman.
Diekman has been around for a decade now, first cutting his teeth with the Philadelphia Phillies. He has bounced around with several teams since, having both good and bad seasons along the way. Diekman was amazing for the Athletics in 21.1 innings back in 2020, going 2-0 with a 0.42 ERA. Last year, in 60.2 innings, he was 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA.
Diekman is approaching his age 35 season so a one-year deal with him could make sense for the Mets. In fact, I wouldn’t be opposed to signing Chafin to a two or three-year contract and adding Diekman as the secondary lefty for a single season. It would make for a great gluttony of former Athletics on the roster.
With Diekman, the concern should be whether or not the twilight of his career has turned to dusk. One thing to like about him is how incredibly consistent he has been throughout his career at striking batters out. An average of 11.5 per nine innings dating back to 2012, he has actually performed better versus righties (.212/.323/.344 slash line) than against lefties (.232/.342/.310 slash line). The same was true last season with a .200/.289/.421 slash line versus righties and .229/.379/.337 versus lefties. Thanks to the three-batter-minimum law, we won’t have to ever look at him as a lefty specialist anyway.
The Athletics have a lot of guys to trade and several more in free agency to get new contracts from different teams. The Mets already have two. Which one is next?