As the market for starting pitching continues to break way after Jacob deGrom and now Justin Verlander have both found their new homes, the focus will shift towards that middle-tier market of solid, albeit not quite ace-caliber starters. Among those options, Chris Bassitt is a fantastic piece for any ballclub wishing to compete. The hiccup in Bassitt's market is that he has stated he is looking for a four-year deal. At the age of 34, will the Chicago Cubs be willing to bite? Let's first understand what you're getting in Chris Bassitt.
Starting with the first half of the season, Bassitt posted a 3.79 ERA over an impressive 102 innings of work. He stepped it up considerably in the second half by recording an exceptional 2.94 ERA to finish the season with a mark of 3.42 over 181.2 IP. You love the see the workhorse mentality from him. The Cubs could use someone who can put up over 180 innings while recording above-average marks. He was on pace with his career ERA of 3.45 throughout his eight-year career.
Moving forward, Fangraphs initially listed Bassitt with a projection of three years and in the 16-17MM AAV range. I am perfectly fine with that projection. Unfortunately, it appears times are changing, and contracts are getting increasingly expensive as time goes on. With Bassitt going on record stating he wants a four-year deal, what would the Cubs have to do in order to bring him to Chicago?
The Chicago Cubs may have to overpay if they want to land Chris Bassitt.
For one, you can raise the AAV substantially if you believe Bassitt will genuinely impact your starting rotation. Offering up perhaps 20.0MM a season for three years and a club option for the fourth year may be intriguing for Bassitt, considering he winds up making more than he's projected for and can still look to hit the market again in three years. Conversely, a 3.45 career ERA is nice, but do the Cubs want to go for an AAV that high? If it is only for three years, does that fall into the realm of intelligent spending enough, knowing it doesn't hinder the team long term?
Whatever the case, the Cubs need to understand that the market is changing and will be unsuccessful in sitting idly by thinking things aren't intelligent enough. Trae Turner just signed an 11-year contract for 300.0MM with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are loaded for years to come. The Cubs can't truly anticipate much success looking for cheaper, shorter deals on guys that are beginning to age. Bassitt is still a solid piece for a starting rotation that is otherwise already littered with middle-of-the-rotation guys.
Though the Cubs need their ace, ideally, you want to see them add another solid arm such as Bassitt's. He certainly will be considered a nice 2-3 spot starter for the Cubs if they acquire him. Landing an ace with Bassitt also gives the Cubs a lot of breathing room and quietly provides a solid outlook for the starting rotation. With deGrom and Verlander off the board, the Cubs need to be ready to strike so they don't fall too far behind and wind up with scraps.