Mets, Bassitt agree to deal for '22, option for '23
DENVER -- Since coming to the Mets in a March trade from Oakland, Chris Bassitt has spoken about how much he’s enjoyed his introduction to New York. He’s now given himself a chance to extend that marriage beyond this season.
The Mets and Bassitt agreed Saturday to an $8.8 million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing that would have taken place Monday. The deal is worth $8.65 million for this season and includes a mutual $19 million option for 2023. That includes a $150,000 buyout, bringing the total guarantee to $8.8 million.
“I’m happy that it’s not going to be a distraction for anybody,” Bassitt said, noting that he wasn’t involved in the negotiations until Friday night, when he received a phone call while playing chess with teammate Adam Ottavino. “That’s the biggest thing for me. … I didn’t want to go to trial. I liked everyone here. I think we have a great relationship here. Why even remotely try to mess with that?”
Bassitt, 33, has thrived since arriving in New York, going 4-2 with a 2.77 ERA over his first eight starts. He’s currently the Mets’ No. 1 starter, with both Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on the injured list -- a fact not lost on him as he looks to carve out a leadership role on the team.
In particular, Bassitt has lauded his relationship with Scherzer, a likeminded veteran who is under contract with the Mets through 2024.
“I have a lot of great people in my corner, including former teammates, former coaches that all just basically said, ‘You be yourself, and everything’s going to work out in New York, I promise you,’” Bassitt said. “I came here and I’ve been myself, and everything’s worked out. I’m happy to be here. I’m grateful to be here. But at the same time, I’m trying to do the best I can for everybody to get through this. Obviously, losing Jake, losing Max, it puts a lot more pressure on everybody else.”
Bassitt had requested $9 million from the Mets in advance of arbitration, while the team had countered at $8.3 million. Had the two sides not managed to strike a deal, they would have been required to go to a hearing, in which an independent arbiter would have chosen one figure or the other as Bassitt’s 2022 salary.
The Mets did not seriously contemplate a longer-term deal for Bassitt, who can become a free agent after this season. But it’s possible this marriage could still last longer, even if the 2023 contract option doesn’t take effect. Additional negotiations could happen at any time.
“A lot of people are short-term thinking right now this year,” Bassitt said. “We have such a special group that I don’t really want to be a distraction and hurt that in any way. If something happens, it happens. If something does happen, I’m really happy about that. I love it here, love everyone here so far. Yeah, I would love to stay here long term, but I’m so focused right now on just this year and what this team needs right now that it’s hard to think about ’23, ’24, however many years.”