OAKLAND, Calif. — Right-hander Chris Bassitt, who made a remarkable recovery from a frightening line drive to the head last year, was traded by the Oakland Athletics to the New York Mets on Saturday for a pair of minor league pitchers.
The Mets sent right-handers J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller to the A’s for Bassitt.
Bassitt gives the Mets a much-needed starter for the middle of the rotation, seemingly a good fit behind aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
The 33-year-old Bassitt came back to make two starts in late September, just more than a month after he took a 100 mph liner to the face on Aug. 17 in Chicago. The drive came off Brian Goodwin’s bat in the second inning of a 9-0 loss to the White Sox.
Bassitt underwent surgery for three fractures in his right cheekbone. Immediately after the injury, his right eye was swollen shut.
Bassitt wound up 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 27 starts, including his first career complete game. He had been an AL Cy Young candidate when he got hurt and his absence took a toll on the A’s beyond the field. He was 12-3 with a 3.06 ERA and leading the AL in victories when he was injured.
Oakland, which won the AL West in the virus-shortened 2020 season, finished 86-76 and nine games behind the division champion Astros to miss the playoffs following three straight appearances. The small-budget A’s have long been known for trading away their key players during the offseason.
The Athletics will be led by first-year manager Mark Kotsay, a former outfielder for the club.
Bassitt is 31-25 with a 3.47 ERA in parts of seven seasons with the A’s and White Sox.
New York made a huge splash by landing Scherzer in free agency before the Major League Baseball lockout, giving the team an imposing duo with deGrom that’s combined to win five Cy Young Awards. But overlooked a bit in that excitement was the fact that Marcus Stroman, the club’s best starter last season, signed with the Chicago Cubs and right-hander Noah Syndergaard, coming back from Tommy John surgery, left for the Los Angeles Angels.
So the Mets need to add depth on the mound, especially with deGrom coming off an injury-abbreviated season and Scherzer set to turn 38 in July. They also have Carlos Carrasco, who managed 12 mostly ineffective starts last year in his first season with the Mets, and Taijuan Walker, who followed up an All-Star first half with a miserable second half.
Third-year lefty David Peterson and right-hander Tylor Megill are also rotation options after each showed some promise as a rookie.
The 22-year-old Ginn was a second-round pick by the Mets in 2020. He was a combined 5-5 with a 3.33 ERA in two levels of Class A ball last year.
Oller, 27, was a combined 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA in Triple-A and Double-A last year.