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Cubs free agent target: Chris Bassitt

Here’s another starting pitcher the Cubs could be interested in.

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Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

This article in The Athletic hints that the Cubs might be interested in free-agent righthander Chris Bassitt, along with a couple of other starters:

The Cubs continue to be active in the free-agent market for starting pitchers, a group that includes Kodai Senga, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker on their radar.

I’ve already posted articles about Senga and Walker here, so let’s take a look at Bassitt.

Bassitt, a 16th-round pick of the White Sox in 2011, had his best years long after the Sox traded him, along with Josh Phegley, Rangel Ravelo and Marcus Semien to the Oakland Athletics for Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa in 2014.

In fact, those good years came after Bassitt missed all of 2017 and much of 2018 with Tommy John surgery. He had a very good year in 2021 and the A’s, in their huge salary dump last winter, traded him to the Mets.

Bassitt posted a 3.42 ERA and 1.145 WHIP in 30 starts for the Mets, a 3.2 bWAR season after a 4.0 bWAR year in Oakland in 2021.

This should make him a prime target for the Cubs, yes? Here’s what Fangraphs says about him:

Bassitt collects outs via weak contact, not whiffs. His ability to do so is genuine, but over the course of his career, it has been aided by two phenomenal environments: the cavernous Oakland Coliseum and Citi Field. For reasons not yet known (but often speculated about), the latter suppresses exit velocity better than any other big-league park. In this context, Bassitt’s career home/away ERA split of 2.68/4.26 makes sense – and merits pause. Moreover – and this is purely speculative – his delicate six-pitch mix could discourage or intrigue potential suitors, depending on how confident they are in their pitching development. The best possible outcome for Bassitt, then, seems like a stint with a progressive organization based in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

That doesn’t really sound like the Cubs, does it? Plus, the Cubs already have a guy around the same age who gets outs via weak contact (when he’s on, anyway) — Kyle Hendricks.

Fangraphs suggests Bassitt is in line for a three-year deal for about $50 million. He turns 34 in February, so this would be paying for his age 34, 35 and 36 seasons. There’s significant risk with that, in my view. For that sort of money I’d rather have someone younger, like Senga or Walker. (Or even this guy, around the same age, for less money — José Quintana, who has the advantage of being lefthanded.)

So I’m going to say “pass it” on Bassitt. What say you?

Poll

Chris Bassitt...

  • 9%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a deal similar to the one proposed by Fangraphs
    (43 votes)
  • 1%
    ... the Cubs should sign him, but it will take more in dollars or years or both
    (6 votes)
  • 87%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (408 votes)
  • 2%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (10 votes)
467 votes total Vote Now