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  • Trade Target: Chris Bassitt


    Nash Walker

    The Twins have an extreme need for starting pitching. Could they swing a deal for Athletics starter Chris Bassitt?

    Image courtesy of Joe Nicholson, USA TODAY Sports

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    THE PLAYER
    The White Sox drafted Bassitt, 32, in the 16th round of the 2011 Draft out of the University of Akron. In what turned out to be a lopsided trade, the White Sox moved Bassitt and Marcus Semien for Jeff Samardzija in December of 2014. 

    Semien and Bassitt combined for 29.7 Wins Above Replacement and counting, while Samardzija barely eclipsed replacement level in his lone season for Chicago. Billy Beane won again.

    Bassitt has quietly pitched very well for the last four seasons. Among 74 starters who’ve thrown at least 400 innings over that span, Bassitt is tied for 13th in ERA+ (130) and ranks 14th in OPS against (.656). 

    49 starters have thrown at least 200 innings over the last two seasons. Just six have a lower ERA than Bassitt: Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler, Brandon Woodruff, Max Scherzer, Zack Wheeler, and Max Fried. 

    Bassitt works with a deep arsenal of offerings and excels at missing barrels. He throws a sinker in the lower-to-mid 90s, an excellent four-seamer with similar velocity, a cutter, changeup, slider, and curveball. 

    The lanky right-hander is an interesting case study. He’s already terrific, but there’s glaring room for improvement in his profile. Bassitt increased his slider usage from 0.1% in 2019 to 10.1% in 2021. My suggestion: bump that up even more. 

    Bassitt’s slider grades as an excellent pitch, with an expected batting average of .127 and a 39% swing-and-miss rate in 2021. Perhaps fewer sinkers (.356 xWOBA) and cutters (.375), and more sliders would help Bassitt miss more bats. 

    This change would significantly help against right-handed batters, who hit just .143 with a .209 wOBA against Bassitt’s slider in 2021. 

    THE COST
    Bassitt is one year from free agency and will make about $9 million via arbitration in 2022. The Athletics aren’t afraid to trade away their expiring veterans, and there’ve been multiple reports indicating that Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson could all be available. 

    According to MLB Trade Simulators, a deal for Bassitt would require quite a bit, but not nearly as much as Luis Castillo. If the Athletics wanted one young player in return, Trevor Larnach holds similar value, according to the simulator. If they seek a package, perhaps Alerick Soularie, Matt Wallner, Blayne Enlow and Drew Strotman could make sense. 

    The Twins certainly value one-year commitments. Because Bassitt is making such a reasonable salary, it’s viable to trade for him and sign a high-priced free agent. The Twins have the depth to swing a deal like this. 

    It’s possible they’d favor Manaea, the younger lefty who may require less in return. Manaea is objectively worse than Bassitt but throws an excellent changeup and costs a projected $10.2 million via arbitration in 2022. Frankie Montas, 28, could be the highest-upside target but also the most expensive with two years remaining on his contract. 

    What do you think? Should the Twins trade for Chris Bassitt?

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    I personally wouldn't trade Larnach for 1 year of Bassitt. Its not like He is going to be the 1 piece that puts us over the top into the series. Larnach should have many years of good to very good play ahead of him. If the FO feels Bassitt is enough of an asset to risk a player rated that high then they should make sure Bassitt is willing to negotiate an extension before agreeing to the deal. 

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    I would use Larnach in a separate deal with Miami for pitching and go with the Soulaire, Wallner, Enlow, Strotman deal. In fact, I think the A's would probably prefer that to a one for one.  I think the Twins will need to trade for at least 3 SP's and Bassitt would be one pitcher I'd surely target.  Montas would be fantastic. but the cost to get him, like a Luis Castillo would probably be too high.  If the Twins were just ONE pitcher away, I'd be all for going after a Castillo or Montas.  The problem is, they need FOUR SP's so they have to aim for "good' pitchers but "quantity" as well.   

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    I think pointing out the terrible trade the Sox made with Billy Beane should give some pause.  Much like Tampa, Oakland seems to normally get the long term winning end of a trade.  I am not saying do not trade, but be careful when you make an offer and Beane throws in some off the wall prospect he wants. 

    Going back to the Sox trade, look at how bad of trades they made when they were chasing vet pitching.  James Shields was traded to them for Tatis Jr.  Shields was flop for them Tatis is one of best players in league.  They did trade mentioned in article too, getting the raw end of it too.  It is a caution to not over pay for vet pitchers in trades. 

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    Yes, the Twins could swing a deal and they also should. Oakland has two pitchers to go after right now. There isn't any reason to wait. The prospect package for Bassitt, if amenable to Oakland, should be finished. 

    1 hour ago, Doctor Gast said:

    OAK is motivated to deal. Although Bassit is a good pitcher, I'd rather go after Montas instead because he's more upside, extra year of contract and he's right-handed.

    Montas - yes. Why not both. TopGun#22 is right. The Twins need four decent starting pitchers. Miami, Oakland, and Milwaukee have pieces and the longer the Twins wait the more likely another team swoops in and completes a deal. Oakland is a particularly  good trade partner for those who refuse to consider a trade of either Garver or Jeffers. Like others, Larnach is a player I'm hoping will interest Miami. Still, Bassitt is someone we could use this year as the inexperienced pitchers transition to the MLB hitters.

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    I'm not sure why the Heyman tweet is news. Everyone and everything is for sale always in Oakland. It's just a matter of price. If that sounds like a criticism, it is not. That is just business as usual there. No one has impacted the game more than  Beane. Some love that, some lament it. 

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    I think Bassitt should be their top pitcher to acquire.  At his age and only one year of control, the cost to obtain him will not be as high.  I thought he had 2 years of control remaining. plus Bassitt hasn't made as much at this point in his career.  The Twins could offer him a 2 or 3 year extension for around the 15-20 million per season.  I doubt he wouldn't be amenable at this stage of his career.  He is entering his age 33 season having made 8.25 million thus far.  a 3 year 45 million contract for his age 33, 34 and 35 seasons.  or 4 and 64  through age 36. so for Minnesota he is going to cost less in talent, less for an extension and he has less mileage on his arm.  How does this not have Minnesota written all over this deal?

    And from Oakland the cost to get his would be some prospects.  probably something like Winder and Moran and maybe a low a flyer or filler.  If Oakland is committing to trading their top 5 players for prospects they will wat players who are close to ready so they can come up next season and return to contention quickly.  If those 5 players can net them 8-10 strong prospects plus another 5-10 low level players plus they do have a good farm system if I remember correctly then they would return to contention quickly.  

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    When Oakland's readiness to deal those 3 starters was reported initially, I was more interested in Montas because of the extra year of team control, but I'm coming around to Bassitt and Manaea more now. Being in their last year of arbitration will keep the cost to acquire one of those guys lower, and adding a starter for one year may not be such a problem when Maeda is coming back and the odds are that at least one pitching prospect who isn't ready in 2022 will be ready in 2023.

    What about Dobnak plus a higher-upside minor leaguer or two for a trade like this? Oakland would value the cost certainty of Dobnak's contract, and if they're really selling off this winter they'll likely need some MLB-ready players back in trades.

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    I'm much more interested in dealing a couple of A-ball lottery tickets than I am someone like Larnach, since this is for a player with only 1 year left under contract, no matter how good the rate. Larnach may have had a difficult first season, but he's still very talented with many more years of control, and I don't think I have much interest in trading a near-MLB ready corner OF for 1 year of a starter who has been quite good recently but didn't become a regular starter in the majors until he was 30.

    He's a quality pitcher and if Oakland would take Strotman and a couple of lottery ticket A-ball guys, I'd be interested. Sign Stroman, trade for Bassitt, re-sign Pineda and the rotation looks pretty good all of a sudden, and so does the team if they can fill in SS. But I still like Larnach a lot, and I'm unenthusiastic about giving him up for what might be a 1-year rental.

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    I would not want to trade for any of the 3 "short-timer" Oakland SP's unless you have permission to work out a long-term deal with their agents before the trade.  Twins are not in a position to be in the 1 or 2 year rental market, and I have zero confidence the team will sign extensions for these players unless it is agreed to ahead of the trade.

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    "No" to trading for a 1 year pitcher without negotiating an extension before the trade. What does a Bassitt extension look like? Tough to say. Bassitt is getting up there in terms of free agent pitchers. He'll be 33 next year and his xFIP hasn't looked great. Quite frankly, he scares me because his career ERAs/FIPs are in line, but the last few years, he's outperformed the xFIPs dramatically. His home/road splits were substantial last year, but the HR/FB rate tracked whether or not he was in Oakland.

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    I'm interested in all 3 of the A's pitchers if the price is right. And I'm OK making a move for someone on a 1yr deal. But a "right price" is not a top 10 prospect unless the guy I'm getting back pushes me to the top. And that's not happening here.

    And I seriously doubt Oakland wants a 1 for 1 deal. They are going to want a 2 or 3 for 1 deal to deepen their system and provide more opportunities to strike it rich.

    Staying away from exact names as I don't know the A's system all that well, but I'd be OK with 2 or 3 from about the 12-15 spots in the Twins system on down. There's a lot of good ballplayers there.  I could see the rehabbing Enlow as someone Beane might have as a primary target.

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    I like the idea of high quality pitchers on short term contracts.  We have one of the deeper starting pitching pipelines in baseball which seems to be getting forgotten.  I feel the disappointment of the Berrios signing but that trade may come to look brilliant. The Thor signing bothered me more as I feel that the quality starting pitchers available on 1 year contracts is a short list.  I would be happy to hear that we traded for any of the 3 SPs presumed to be available from Oakland, as well as the Reds or Marlins SPs.

    Every offseason there are a number of fans that think the Twins should be in on the very top of the starting pitching market and are angry when we are not.  The list of teams that get to shop in that aisle of $30mm+/yr pitchers is about 8 teams.  Moreover I can not recall a top SP FA ever clamoring to pitch in MN.  Being perpetually upset at the FO for not taking steps that are not even on the table is ludicrous. 

    The Cheap Pohlad saw is equally lame.  They may be perceived as mega rich but they are not obligated to spend for the entertainment of others.  All the owners could spend more but most scale their payroll to the size of the market revenues.  We don't have it any worse than the majority of teams in MLB.   I think it sucks that their is no financial parity in MLB.  To me that detracts from the game of baseball.  just my .02$

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    It's such a tough call, trading away players that another team may find as consistent regulars in 3-5 years for players to produce for you for 1-2 years, especially when you are not on the cusp of winning a dividison, let alone go into the post-season. 

     

    Better, in the end, to play the market with mid-level free agents and jsut spend the extra monies while floundering like half of baseball in the standings.

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    A's do seem to value multiple B/C prospects over one A prospect. Probably has to with B/C prospects in volume turning into decent MLB players that do not get too expensive in arbitration. 

    That bodes well for a team like the Twins who are literally bleeding C level prospects. This would be an excellent trade partner to get something in return for those B/C prospects, when holding onto them all results in us losing some thru DFA, low-level one-for-one swaps, and Rule 5, for nothing, due to roster crunch.

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    8 hours ago, Minny505 said:

    A's do seem to value multiple B/C prospects over one A prospect. Probably has to with B/C prospects in volume turning into decent MLB players that do not get too expensive in arbitration. 

    That bodes well for a team like the Twins who are literally bleeding C level prospects. This would be an excellent trade partner to get something in return for those B/C prospects, when holding onto them all results in us losing some thru DFA, low-level one-for-one swaps, and Rule 5, for nothing, due to roster crunch.

    Yeah, it's not hard at all to see that working. With the borderline 40-man guys, it could be a little tricky because the Twins now have less than 2 days to decide whether those guys are worth adding—knowing they could be trade bait but otherwise will take up a roster spot—and if they don't add them, those players suddenly become less valuable in trade when another team might have a crack at drafting them in a few weeks.

    Hopefully the Twins FO has had enough conversations to have some feel for how other teams value the likes of Severino, Vallimont, etc. Maybe there's a way to work this out by putting those guys on a PTBNL list along with some non-Rule 5-eligible players too.

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    On 11/16/2021 at 11:18 AM, SteveLV said:

    I would not want to trade for any of the 3 "short-timer" Oakland SP's unless you have permission to work out a long-term deal with their agents before the trade.  Twins are not in a position to be in the 1 or 2 year rental market, and I have zero confidence the team will sign extensions for these players unless it is agreed to ahead of the trade.

    The Twins are loaded with starting pitchers in the minors who are only a year away.  Duran, Balazovich, SRW, Cole, Winder....  There is also Canterino, Enlow, Varland just to name a few others.  I would think the Twins would want a starter on a 1 year deal and another on a 2 year deal and a third starter on any contract because of this.  

     

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    On 11/16/2021 at 4:02 PM, Rosterman said:

    It's such a tough call, trading away players that another team may find as consistent regulars in 3-5 years for players to produce for you for 1-2 years, especially when you are not on the cusp of winning a dividison, let alone go into the post-season. 

     

    Better, in the end, to play the market with mid-level free agents and jsut spend the extra monies while floundering like half of baseball in the standings.

    Why not do both.  Sign a good middle of the road Free Agent like Pineda and trade for a rotation arm like Bassit.  and now you have 2 rotation arms for around or just over 20 million for 2022.  then we are 1 starter away and a SS and a bullpen arm from a good offseason.  

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