A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to take a dive into what it would take for the Mariners to get a trade done for one of the starting pitchers from the Oakland Athletics. First, it was Frankie Montas. This time around, it’s for Chris Bassitt.
I’m going off of the assumption that Bassitt is going to be a lot less than Montas. He’s older, he cost more, and he only has one year of team control. When you combine all of those things, it makes a player’s value/return a lot lower, even if you do think they may be a better player.
Bassitt has been better over the last three years. It’s less than a WAR per year, but both players are still pretty good. You can see that 2020 was the sole difference, and that can sway you one way or the other depending on how you feel about the shortened season.
- Chris Bassitt: 1.9, 2.3, 4.0 WAR (8.2 WAR), 3.26 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 1.128 WHIP, 63 GS
- Frankie Montas: 2.4, -0.3, 3.7 WAR (5.8 WAR), 3.51 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 1.214 WHIP, 59 GS
Montas is four years younger and has the extra year of control. Chris Bassitt is 33 and is going to cost about $8.8 million this year, depending on his arbitration ruling. He has been pretty solid, statistically, but it’s the games played that have changed over the last few years. He only appeared in 40 games, starting 30 of them, from 2014-2018, missing the entirety of the 2017 season. He would tally 191 innings over that time.
It has been different over the last three years. You can tell by the WAR that he’s been having good seasons, but he has been throwing a lot as well. 144 IP in 25 GS (28 Games), 63 IP in 11 GS, and 157.1 IP in 27 GS. He’s only missed around 10 starts in that time and is averaging 5.7 IP per start. It’s a pretty good number in today’s game. If he can get over 30 starts in a season, you are looking at a #2/3 starter.
There’s one more thing that’s important to mention, and it’s the uptick in strikeouts. He was at 9.1 this year, which was a career-high. Most people know that Bassitt is a darn good pitcher, but if you can get 30 starts, around 180 IP and 180 K, with a walk rate in the low 2s, that $8.8 million actually looks like a steal. You’re getting somewhere around a low 5 WAR if he can put up those numbers, which is a massive value.
“Hey, that all sounds pretty good. Bassitt probably has a high value.”
That’s what I would think, except he is a one-year rental, and the 157.1 and 144 IP are the only times he has been above 86 IP in a season. I do think the Mariners would have to give up some fair assets to get him, but I don’t think any top 100 guys would be on their way to Oakland.
Here’s what the Mariners could send Oakland for Chris Bassitt
This might not quite be enough, as you are getting a promising third baseman in Perez for your system, and a low ceiling high floor guy who is unproven and a few years away in Alvarado. Oakland does have one of the worst farm systems in baseball, so they could be looking for only prospects in a return. Instead of Sheffield, the Mariners could send out someone like Phillips or Campbell instead. It all depends on how Oakland wants to rebuild.
If they do have an interest in Sheffield, it could be a good tryout for him. Look, I include Sheffield every once in a while because I think he is one of the more interesting pieces out there. He is a former top prospect and lefty that has shown darn good stuff. He has a lot of control left (through 2025), and if he turns into a decent starter, it makes it a win for Oakland.
What do you think? Which pitcher of the Athletics should the Mariners go after? Let us know and as always… Go Mariners!