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Mets strengthen their rotation - acquire Chris Bassitt from the A’s
The Mets traded their fifth-best prospect for Bassitt, who can be a free agent after the season
Since signing Max Scherzer to a three-year contract in late November, the Mets always expected to procure additional starting pitching to shore up their questionable rotation.
On Saturday night, they took a big step towards doing so, acquiring RHP Chris Bassitt from the A’s in exchange for two prospects - RHP JT Ginn and RHP Adam Oller, the A’s announced.
Bassitt, 33, enjoyed a fantastic 2021 campaign, posting 3.3 fWAR with a 12-4 record and a 3.15 ERA in 157 1/3 innings over 27 starts with 159 strikeouts while allowing just 39 walks. He is projected to earn about $9 million in his third year of arbitration in 2022, and can be a free agent at the end of the season.
Ginn, 22, was the Mets second round selection in the 2020 June amateur draft. He pitched to a 3.03 ERA between Single-A Brooklyn and Single-A St. Lucie in his first professional season with 81 strikeouts over 92 innings in 2021. He was the Mets fifth-best prospects, according to MLB.com. He underwent Tommy John Surgery in March, 2020, just three months before the Mets drafted him.
Oller, 27, was a potential bullpen candidate for the Mets in the coming season. He combined to go 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA with 138 strikeouts in 120 innings pitched over 23 starts between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse in 2021.
Despite the considerable cost in prospects, the Mets moved to strengthen the middle of their rotation, offering both strong protection and insurance against uncertainties with Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Carlos Carrasco at worst, while taking an already strong front of the rotation and positioning the staff in the top three in the league at best.
The acquisition of Bassitt also suggests RHP Tylor Megill will certainly be slated for the rotation in Triple-A Syracuse along with RHP Jordan Yamamoto. The same could be said about RHP Trevor Williams and LHP David Peterson, who missed most of last season with a foot injury, although it’s possible Peterson could also be an option for the major league bullpen as well.
Earlier in the off-season, Mets President Sandy Alderson said the Mets were less inclined to move top shelf prospects in a trade, suggesting the Mets would seek significant upgrades to their roster through free agency. While that held true with the procurements of Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha before the lockout, needs in their rotation remained and the next tier of options combined to be both risky and less appealing for the front office.
In the end, Bassitt was less risky than signing LHP Carlos Rodon, unquestionably more appealing than a contract for LHP Yusei Kikuchi, less expensive financially than both, and therefore the better option for the Mets who still need to address significant needs in the bullpen.