toronto– Chris Bassett He didn’t need the Toronto Blue Jays to sell him on what they were building. The All-Star right-hand man has already done his research and decided which teams he’d like to engage in free agency with.
“I kind of turned everyone off,” Bassett said in a video call Monday of the suitors he spoke with. “I don’t need to be sold. Like, ‘If I’m talking to you, I want to be there’ kind of, and I definitely wanted to be in Toronto. I knew the guys; I understood the living situation. I love the city. I’m 3 1/2 hours from my family.” In Ohio. All the boxes have been checked, so you don’t need to add anything.”
Toronto has shown serious interest since the beginning of the process, Bassett said, and he has stayed in touch while he weighs his options. The team finalized a three-year, $63 million deal on Friday.
“Really excited about the guy, his teammate,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said of Bassett during a video conference Monday. “Our competitiveness has always stood out as elite.”
Bassett, 33, entered the market having gone 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA for the New York Mets in 2022, setting career highs with 30 starts, 181 innings pitched and 167 strikeouts. He is 46-34 with a 3.45 ERA in eight major league seasons.
“Arsenal is unique in that it’s very dynamic,” Atkins said. “There aren’t many shooters who can concretely say they have seven guns, if not more. Someone who is very aggressive and has a lot of guns is not fun to hit.”
Bassett receives a $3 million signing bonus, paid within 30 days of contract approval by the commissioner’s office, and salaries of $18 million next year and $21 million each in 2024 and 2025.
Bassett will receive a $150,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young Award, $125,000 for second place, $100,000 for third, $75,000 for fourth, and $50,000 for fourth. He’ll also get $50,000 each for making an All-Star team, winning a Gold Glove or earning a World Series MVP, plus $25,000 for being the MVP in the league series.
As part of his Toronto search, Bassett surveyed his former Oakland teammates Marcus Semin And the Matt Chapman about their experiences playing with the Blue Jays. The chance to reunite with Chapman, a Gold Glove third baseman who had been traded north of the border the previous winter, was a big draw for Bassett.
“I was hard-pressed to turn down the opportunity to play with him again,” said Bassett.
“That’s one of the biggest reasons I came,” Bassett said. “I want to be part of a group for a long period of time where we can really get to know each other, help each other be the best we can be and then hopefully eventually do something special.”
Bassett’s signing was confirmed a day after Toronto announced a one-year, $9 million deal with the Gold Glove center fielder. Kevin Kiermayer. Atkins acknowledged that the addition of Kiermeyer will affect George Springer’s role in the outfield, and Springer will likely move from center to right field some or all of the time in 2023.
“I think Kevin understands what comes with a winning environment,” said Atkins. “George definitely understands what comes with a winning environment. Sometimes that means different placements, trading positions, or share deals. That’s one way to maintain depth. They’re both open to that. George was totally on board with that.”
Having already acquired jugs Eric Swanson and Adam McCo of Seattle outfielder Teuscar HernandezAtkins said his offseason priority will now move from blocking runs to adding offense. He said he would like to add another player in the position, ideally a left-handed batsman.
Toronto finished as the top card in the A-League at 92-70 last season but was knocked out of the playoffs by visiting Seattle, taking an 8-1 lead in game two and losing 10-9.
Encouraged by what he’s seen and heard about the Blue Jays, Bassett doesn’t expect another October disappointment next season.
“I’m here to play for the world championship,” he said. “It’s that simple. I think Toronto, with our playing staff, the bats we have and the defense we can play with, we kind of have a whole bunch.”