Toronto Blue Jays Sign Chris Bassitt to Solidify Their Rotation

The Blue Jays needed to find a dependable No. 3 starter behind Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman and now have a great one, signing Chris Bassitt.

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 2: Chris Bassitt #40 of the New York Mets pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Truist Park on October 2, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays have added a much-needed rotation arm earlier today, signing free agent right-hander Chris Bassitt to a three-year deal worth $63 million according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The former Oakland Athletic was traded to the New York Mets during Spring Training of last year and pitched to a 3.42 ERA through 30 starts. During his lone season with the Mets, Bassitt reached a career-high 181.2 innings, while striking out batters at an 8.3 K/9 rate as well as keeping the walks low, posting a 2.4 BB/9.

The Ohio product earned a 3.2 bWAR in 2022 and was widely-regarded as one of the top arms available this winter behind a select few.

Prior to joining the Mets, Bassitt spent his rookie campaign with the Chicago White Sox and six seasons with the A’s, splitting his time between the rotation and bullpen before cementing himself as starting pitcher in 2019. The soon-to-be 34-year-old owns a career 3.45 ERA through 136 appearances (123 starts) with an 8.2 K/9 and limiting home runs to an 0.9 HR/9.

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Last season, Bassitt sat in the 95th percentile in average exit velocity, continuously generated weak contact. With six pitches in his arsenal, Bassitt relies on his sinker and cutter and mixes in some off-speed with his slider and curve to generate ground balls.

Last year, 49.2% of balls put in play were on the ground compared to 23.6% being fly balls, with weak contact coming in at 5.4%, 1.6 points above the league average.

Bassitt will join former A’s teammate Matt Chapman in Toronto as the right-hander will slide into the rotation alongside Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, and José Berríos, with the current fifth starting role up for grabs between Yusei Kikuchi and Mitch White.

The Blue Jays will forfeit their second round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft as compensation for signing Bassitt, who earlier this offseason rejected the one-year qualifying offer from the Mets. The Jays will also lose $500,000 from the international bonus pool, while also contributing a $21 million AAV to the right-hander over the next three seasons.

Looking towards next year, adding Bassitt to the squad rounds out a pretty solid Blue Jays rotation and adds insurance in the event that Berríos struggles again this season. With Ross Stripling now a free agent and Hyun Jin Ryu’s status up in the air after undergoing Tommy John last year, Bassitt provides stability to what was looking to be a bit of potential concern heading into 2023.

With the Blue Jays still holding three MLB-ready catchers and Sean Murphy now dealt to the Atlanta Braves, there is a high probability the Jays are not done this offseason. Adding another outfield option alongside the recent Kevin Kiermaier signing is still on the table with lots of time before Spring Training rolls around, whether it be through trade or free agent signing.

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Maybe the Blue Jays can find a way to add another starter and carry one of the deepest rotations across the MLB heading into next year as well. Regardless, the Blue Jays head into next year with a strong core and an improved rotation that should hopefully contend for a deep playoff run come next October.