Free Agent Starter Chris Bassitt Appears to be in Philadelphia
The Phillies have reportedly agreed to terms with one free agent Mets pitcher in Taijuan Walker. Might they have room for one more? While I suppose he could be in town for any reason... to get dinner. To attend a wedding. To visit a friend. But curiously, free agent pitcher Chris Bassitt has a picture of Philadelphia City Hall as his Instagram status.
Bassitt had not yet been connected to the Phillies; everything so far would suggest that Bassitt is not a fit.
Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested the Phillies would not sign a second player with a qualifying offer attached. After signing Trea Turner, the Phillies have forfeited two draft picks. Perhaps the Phillies may be willing to go for it.
Additionally, Dombrowski indicated that the Phillies could be saving a spot in the starting rotation for a young player. That could include Bailey Falter, who pitched well down the stretch. Or, a prospect such as Andrew Painter could break through.
Bassitt is reportedly seeking a four-year deal, as reported by Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Bassitt was stellar for the New York Mets in 2022. He went 15-9 with a 3.42 earned run average, posting a 3.2 WAR. Bassitt was a 2021 American League All-Star with the Oakland Athletics, where he posted back-to-back top 10 finishes in the Cy Young Award voting.
The Phillies would be in competitive balance tax (or "luxury tax") territory once again, should Bassitt sign. The Phillies surprised everyone with a second outfield slugger last offseason. Might they surprise again from the rotation side of things?
The Instagram post is reminiscent of last offseason, when Nick Castellanos posted a picture of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That was an older picture, but that was how he let the baseball world know where he was headed. Could Bassitt be doing the same? Stay tuned.
Update: Bassitt was in town for a wedding.