There’s the big splash we’ve been waiting for.
According to Jeff Passan, the Toronto Blue Jays and starting pitcher Chris Bassitt have agreed to a three-year contract worth $63 million. The $21 million average annual salary is the third-highest handed out in free agency to a starting pitcher this off-season.
Bassitt, who turns 34 in February, was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round of the 2011 draft. He made his debut with the White Sox in 2014 and was moved in the subsequent off-season to the Oakland A’s along with Marcus Semien for Jeff Samardzija.
With Oakland, Bassitt developed into a quality starting pitcher, highlighted by an All-Star season in 2021 in which he posted a 3.15 ERA over 157 1/3 innings. All told, he posted a 3.44 ERA with the A’s over 100 appearances, 88 of which were starts.
Last March, the A’s traded Bassitt to the New York Mets as part of their full-on firesale. He made 30 starts with the Mets in 2022 and posted a 3.42 ERA. New York issued him a qualifying offer but he declined and opted to go into free agency with draft pick compensation attached to his name.
The Blue Jays now have Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, and Bassitt pencilled in as their top four starters, with names such as Yusei Kikuchi, Mitch White, Nate Pearson, and possibly top prospect Ricky Tiedemann in the mix for the fourth spot.