Friday, April 19, 2024

Chicago Cubs Should Look At Chris Bassitt This Winter, Plus Key Off-Season Dates


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Chris Bassitt hinted at opting out of his mutual option with the New York Mets for 2023.  In the previous off-season, the Cubs signed former Met, Marcus Stroman, to a 3-year deal worth $71m.  Pitching, both starting and bullpen, needs to improve next year and Bassitt is one free-agent arm that could help.

Stats and Arsenal

Chris Bassitt was drafted in the 16th round by the other team in Chicago.  He was unable to impress them early on and was traded along with Marcus Semien for the generational talent that was Jeff Samardzija.  Bassitt has really hit his stride in the last 4 seasons.

2 full plus the pandemic season with Oakland led to Chris being traded to the Mets last offseason.  Since the 2019 season, Bassitt has started 93 games and recorded a 42-20 record.  He has averaged around 170 innings pitched with a 1.134 WHIP over that time frame.

As far as pitch arsenal goes, Bassitt offers 6 pitches that he throws with consistency.  He throws a sinker about 1/3rd of the time as well as a 4-seam, curve, slider, and cutter that he throws over 10% of the time.  His change-up is used sparingly but still at 7% this previous season.

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Chris Bassitt excels at inducing weak contact.  This year his average exit velocity of 85.7mph was good for the 95th percentile in baseball.  He can also go record strikeouts when needed.  He has 159 and 167 strikeouts in the last 2 seasons, both would have been best on this year’s Cubs team by a wide margin.

Bassitt would have led the 2022 Cubs’ rotation in innings pitched, wins, strikeouts, and a multitude of other categories.  Kyle Hendricks has 1 more year until he is a free agent and coming off an injury there is no guarantee he will be the Hendricks of old.  As far as free-agent pitchers mention in Aldo’s article, I believe Chris is the most attainable.

Projecting Bassitt’s 2023 Contract


The mutual option between the Mets and Bassitt is worth $19m.  As Chris enters his age 34 season, contract length and guaranteed money are more valuable than the $19m for one year.  A contract similar to the one that Stroman signed with the Cubs would be great.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 years/$60m or 4 years/$75m with a club or mutual options make sense to me.  The young pitchers like Thompson, Steele, and Wesneski have shown promise but adding a veteran to go with Stroman would help their development a lot.  Kyle Hendricks’ performance over the last 3 years has declined and represents another question mark in the rotation.

The last 3-4 years of Bassitt’s pitching has been consistently solid and without injuries.  Every name in the Cubs’ rotation this year missed starts and adding consistency to the rotation would help the bullpen longevity as well.  The Cubs have a chance at signing a veteran starter without breaking the bank when Bassitt officially opts out.

Key Dates for the 2022-23 offseason

With no Cubs playoff stories to pay attention to, I am looking ahead at some important dates during the offseason.

November 7-10 

    • Annual GM Meeting in Las Vegas

5 Days after World Series

    • Free agents (including minor leaguers) are allowed to sign with any team
    • Final day to tender qualifying offers (1 year, $19.65m)

November 14-17: Awards

    • Nov. 14 – Rookie of the Year
    • Nov. 15 – Manager of the Year
    • Nov. 16 – Cy Young
    • Nov. 17 – MVP

November 18

    • Final day to tender contracts to team controlled players

15 days after World Series

    • A player who received a qualifying offer must accept or reject by this day. (Nov. 18, Nov. 20, or Nov. 21.)

December 4-7

    • Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego
    • Rule 5 Draft on December 7th concludes the Meetings

February 25

    • Cubs begin Spring Training against the San Francisco Giants

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