Chris Bassitt became the third Mets starting pitcher in the last two days to decline his contract option, making him a free agent, as announced by the Major League Baseball Players’ Association on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old right-hander was acquired by the Mets via trade last winter from the Oakland Athletics where he quickly became an anchor of the team’s rotation. He led all Mets pitchers with 181.2 innings pitched, going 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA, 167 strikeouts, and a 1.145 WHIP.
Had he picked up his option, Bassitt would have made $19 million in 2023 before hitting free agency, but he hinted that this was an opportunity to hammer down what might be the last big multi-year contract of his career.
“Is a one-year evaluation of yourself worth it compared to a multi-year deal for this evaluation?” Bassitt began on The Chris Rose Rotation podcast Saturday. “I would say, not to give it away, it’s kind of easy.”
This is as good a time as any for Bassitt to cash in. He’s been a consistent, productive starter over the last five years, going 44-23 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.142 WHIP since the start of the 2018 season.
But his decision could leave the Mets in quite the bind. Not only will they attempt to bring back Jacob deGrom, who opted out of the final two years of his contract on Monday, but Taijuan Walker also did the same and Carlos Carrasco is a free agent, too.
That leaves the Mets with a solidified rotation, at the moment, of Max Scherzer, Tylor Megill, David Peterson, and Joey Lucchesi.