Now that Jacob deGrom is off the market, any Sox fans who were crossing their fingers will have to move on. Still, there might be hope that the Sox can land a high-end MLB veteran to bolster their rotation and provide some leadership.
Chris Bassitt Is An Underrated Star
Bassitt, entering his age-34 season, has recovered quite well after his Tommy John surgery in 2017. Since the 2018 season, he pitched in 107 games (100 of which were starts), maintained a respectable sub-4.00 ERA. He also finished in the top ten of Cy Young voting in two seasons (2020 & 2021).
For those concerned about him being prone to injuries, he’s proven to be quite durable as well. He only missed a few weeks due to a lower-leg contusion in 2019. In 2021 he made a remarkable return from a facial fracture less than a month after taking a line drive to the face.
He spent a week this past season on the COVID-related injury list, but who hasn’t at this point? Bassitt has spent 8 years in the league and is a proven, durable veteran (paging Rich Hill…). He is also familiar with both American and National league hitters.
Making The Case For Boston
Bassitt recently declined a qualifying offer from the Mets, stating that he is seeking at least a four-year contract. This indicates he may be looking for a team to spend the remainder of his career with.
As a not-quite top-tier pitching option, he could fit in nicely with the Red Sox. This is especially true of a Sox organization that hesitates at spending the money necessary to land a top-tier pitcher. Bassitt’s durability is also evidenced by the number of starts he’s made.
In 2021 and 2022 he made 27 and 30 starts, respectively. That would add a much-needed workhorse to a starting rotation where only two pitchers started more than 25 games in 2022. One of them was Rich Hill.
Since Bassitt has declined the Mets’ Qualifying Offer, any team who wants to sign him would have to give up a draft pick. The Sox farm system is already solid (Baseball America ranked it #11 in 2022), so they should be able to forgo a compensatory draft pick to the Mets in order to sign Bassitt.
With so much reporting about other top-tier pitchers, interest in Bassitt has been low. Now would be a perfect time to scoop him up and avoid losing yet another bidding war. Bassitt and a hopefully healthy Sale would make a formidable 1 and 2 in the 2023 Sox rotation.
Featured photo by Corey Sipkin, NY Post
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