5 Free Agents The Tampa Bay Rays Should Be Targeting

Wild Card Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Cleveland Guardians - Game Two
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Chris Bassitt
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

RHP Chris Bassitt

As solid as the Rays' pitching staff has been over the years, a veteran presence in the locker room and in the rotation couldn't hurt. That's where Chris Bassitt comes in. As an established middle-of-the-rotation type of arm, Bassitt could step right into the rotation as a reliable 3rd or 4th day guy for the Rays.

According to Danny Abriano of SNY, Bassitt was extremely productive in 2022 when it came to limiting hard contact and missing barrels. He ranked in the 95th percentile in average exit velocity allowed, the 87th percentile in hard hit rate, and above average in barrel percentage. For the Rays, this is reminiscent of Ryan Yarbrough, who struggled heavily this year but has made a career for himself by spotting up his pitches and creating weak contact. Bassitt's stuff isn't incredibly overpowering, but his knack for pounding strikes is something the Rays value in their staff.

The Mets are most likely going to be moving on from Bassitt, as he'll probably be seeking a multi-year contract that New York may not be able to offer. I think a situation where he can be brought into Tampa Bay to start behind McClanahan and Glasnow could be ideal, especially given the consistency the Rays have displayed as a team compared to the Mets over the past few years. I could totally see the Rays bringing him in as almost a Yarbrough replacement-type to be a rock in this rotation in 2023.