Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker Are on the Cubs’ Radar

All proper. Maybe somewhat extra readability on the Cubs’ pitching pursuits?

While we have lengthy recognized about the Cubs’ want so as to add beginning pitching this offseason — at each the depth and influence ranges — we’ve not actually gotten a lot in the method of WHOM they’re really concentrating on. Kodai Senga has been talked about a couple of instances, positive, however seeing as he is indifferent from draft decide compensation and accessible and not using a posting free, he is a precedence for an entire lot of pitching-needy groups in the league. And rumors past him? Bupkis.

Until immediately!

At The Athletic, Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney shine a lightweight on the Cubs’ beginning pitching targets this offseason, reaffirming some curiosity we already knew whereas including two new names into the combine: “The Cubs proceed to be lively in the free-agent marketplace for beginning pitchers, a gaggle that features Kodai Senga, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker on their radar.”

All proper. Names!

By now, it is best to have an excellent sense of what Kodai Senga presents. If not, you possibly can examine his newest scouting report proper right here.

Let’s discuss the two outgoing Mets starters, Bassitt and Walker.

Chris Bassitt

Bassitt is the extra shocking inclusion right here, each due to his age (33) and the truth that he’s connected to draft decide compensation.

I feel the Cubs will/needs to be prepared to signal a participant connected to draft decide compensation this winter. But I additionally suppose that after they do, it is extra more likely to be for a extra impactful participant they’re signing to an extended deal than Bassitt will in all probability get (to unfold out the “price’ of the misplaced draft decide/IFA cash). UNLESS, after all, the Bassitt signing is available in live performance with one other free agent connected to draft decide compensation, decreasing the relative price of signing each.

Setting that apart, Bassitt is unquestionably a very attention-grabbing, win-sooner goal for a group like the Cubs. He’s not going to steer a rotation any time quickly, however he is had a very strong second act of his profession, beginning at age-30:

2019: 25 begins, 144.0 IP, 3.81 ERA (4.00 xERA)
2020: 11 begins, 63.0 IP, 2.29 ERA (3.82 xERA)
2021: 27 begins, 157.1 IP, 3.15 ERA (3.42 xERA)
2022: 30 begins, 181.2 IP, 3.42 ERA (3.46 xERA)

In that 4 yr interval, he ranks amongst the top-25 in begins (93) and innings pitched (541.0), amongst the top-20 in ERA (3.34), and amongst the top-40 in FIP (3.78). And whereas we’re at it, his 18.6 gentle% ranks twenty second, his 87.1 MPH common exit velocity allowed is twelfth finest, and his 6.0% barrel charge is in the top-20.

But once more, he is heading into his age-34 season. Signing Bassitt could be somewhat shocking if the Cubs do not in any other case plan so as to add much more expertise.

At FanGraphs, Bassitt is projected to land a deal in the vary of three years and $16-$17M per yr as the 14th finest free agent accessible. But bear in mind, the Cubs may worth that misplaced draft decide (plus the bonus pool, plus the IFA bonus pool cash) at upwards of $15 to $20 million. Every group will do a model of that calculus (and the greater you decide, the extra worth you would be giving up), nevertheless it’s simply one thing to bear in mind.

Taijuan Walker

I really feel like Taijuan Walker has been linked to the Cubs a thousand instances over the years, with out ever getting fairly this direct of a rumor/connection. Maybe it was all the time simply wishful pondering on my half. I can not actually bear in mind.

A former first spherical decide (and tip-top pitching prospect), Walker has had a strong, if unspectacular profession:

But he additionally made 11/12 begins in 2020 and 29/32 in each 2021 and 2022, which is tied for twentieth over that stretch by way of video games began and twenty eighth for innings pitched.

I hold bringing that up, by the method, as a result of in immediately’s MLB, longevity is uncommon and helpful. The Cubs want to search out themselves extra guys they consider could make 90% of their begins. And it looks like Bassitt and Walker is likely to be good bets in that respect.

Taijuan Walker can be simply 30 years previous, so he ought to have some fuel left in the tank, maybe even some extra upside as his profession stabilizes.

I imply, take a look at this nasty splitter:

Note that Walker opted out of his $6 million participant choice with the Mets, who then declined to increase the one-year, $19.65M qualifying provide. As such, he’s *not* connected to draft decide compensation, and might be had for simply cash. FanGraphs, who has Walker as the twenty second finest free agent accessible, is projecting a deal in the three-year, $13-$14M AAV vary (~$40M complete).

I feel each of those guys – plus Senga – are glorious targets for the Cubs this offseason. However, if they are not going to be a risk at the prime of the free agent market (Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon), you’d hope they may land at the least two pitchers of this high quality.

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