Report: Blue Jays sign pitcher Chris Bassitt to 3-year, $63M deal
The Toronto Blue Jays have added another big name to their starting rotation, agreeing to a three-year, $63-million deal with right-hander Chris Bassitt, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Bassitt pitched for the New York Mets in 2022, registering a 3.42 ERA over 30 starts. He has been one of the most consistent starters in the majors since 2015 with a career 3.45 ERA. He rose to prominence as a member of the Oakland Athletics, culminating with an All-Star nod in 2021.
The 33-year-old will slide into the middle of the Blue Jays’ rotation behind co-aces Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman. Toronto’s staff also includes Jose Berrios, who will be looking for a bounce-back season after a rocky 2022 campaign. Yusei Kikuchi and Mitch White are options for the fifth-starter role.
Bassitt declined a qualifying offer from the Mets earlier this offseason, meaning the Blue Jays will have to surrender their second-highest 2023 draft pick and lose $500,000 in international bonus pool space. The contract carries a limited no-trade clause, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Since Bassitt declined a qualifying offer from Mets, signing him will require the forfeiture of the #BlueJays’ second-highest 2023 draft pick as well as a $500k reduction in international bonus pool space for the upcoming signing period.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) December 12, 2022
The Toledo, Ohio native is by no means a power pitcher, as his fastball sits around 93 mph. He is effective because of his command and ability to mix in his cutter, slider, curveball and changeup. He doesn’t generate a lot of swing and miss but is excellent at limiting hard contact.
With the deal, Toronto has now shopped at the top of the free agent market in four consecutive offseasons, with Hyun Jin Ryu, George Springer, Gausman and Bassitt all commanding annual average salaries exceeding $20 million. The Blue Jays had been linked to other starting pitchers in recent weeks, including Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga and Jameson Taillon.
Toronto’s winter had been mostly quiet to this point as the club watched a number of its rivals improve through free agency and trade. The Blue Jays traded star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez to the Seattle Mariners in November in exchange for reliever Erik Swanson and a prospect, then added veteran outfielder Kevin Kiermaier over the weekend.
The Blue Jays are looking to take another step forward in their quest for a World Series in 2023 after getting swept by the Mariners in two games in the American League Wild Card Series.
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