OAKLAND – Chris Bassitt traveled from the field to the visitors’ hall where he was greeted on Saturday by a mix of New York Mets and Athletics fans chanting his name and asking for autographs.
Bassitt, who gave up two runs in eight rounds as the Mets beat Friday 9-2 at the Coliseum, continued signing until everyone was satisfied. He went behind the home blackboard talking to former teammate Cole Irvin, then signed several more deals with a handful of fans who were allowed to hang out on the pitch behind a temporary fence.
“Bittersweet,” said Bassitt. “Lots of memories at this place. Sure there weren’t many guys, but seeing (the catcher Sean Murphy) and these guys is amazing. “
Bassitt was the first to leave during the A-version spring clean, selling the Mets in exchange for potential Adam Oller and JT Ginn.
Others will follow. Matt Olson for the brave. Matt Chapman to Blue Jays, Sean Manaea to San Diego Padres. He joined Mark Canh of the Mets who signed with a free agency along with Starling Marte, a tenant last season in a deal that sent Jesus Luzardo to Miami. Frankie Montas was sold to the New York Yankees at the time of the deal.
The Mets are in the middle of the National League East pennant race against the Atlanta Braves, and Bassitt has been one of the most consistent starters for manager Buck Showalter. He is 15-8 years old, tied with Carlos Carraso (15-6) for the lead in a team that also boasts Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
New York kicked off Saturday’s match of 40 games over 0.500 at 96-56, 2.5 games in Atlanta. Bassitt believes they could have had records like that if they had kept the old gang together.
“It’s tough. I don’t think anyone really wants to go,” Bassitt said. “.
Bassitt began his career with the Chicago White Sox but was traded to A in 2015 where he quickly went 1-8 then 0-2 the following year before undergoing Tommy John’s surgery and skipping the 2017 season.
Uncertain whether his future lies in bull or in rotation, Bassitt recovered in 2018 and flourished in 2019, going 27-11 through the 2021 season and forming the American League All-Star squad.
While his time with A was exceptional, Bassitt described the difference between the organizations as “day and night” in terms of commitment.
“We get almost everything we need in New York from (owner Steve Cohen),” said Bassitt. “It’s not like that here.”
Having played for the rival A teams over the past three seasons, he has described the New York atmosphere as “crazy” in a good way, although losing matches brings a different level of anxiety.
“Winning means everything to everyone, but losing in New York is a little different than losing in Oakland,” said Bassitt. “Two-game losing streaks seem to be breaking a lot of feathers, especially considering the expectations we set for ourselves. Losing two games at Oakland is fine, whatever. Losing two games in New York is a completely different story. “
The bond between Bassitt and the other former teammates who were named, as well as those still on the roster such as Chad Pinder, Murphy and Irvin, will remain strong.
“We’re all in the group lyrics, so we keep chatting and stuff,” said Bassitt. “I definitely know how everyone is doing.”
Manager A, Mark Kotsay, is also following.
“You look at the guys from different teams, part of the kernel that won,” said Kotsay. Matt Olson and the year he has. Matt Chapman has a pretty good year in Toronto. Bassitt comes out last night and is a typical Bassitt. Canha hits twice.
“It shows that this organization can develop players, and it’s up to us to focus on the same path now and do it with these guys.”
Qualifying for the free agency off-season, Bassitta’s goal is to stay in the pennant race regardless of location.
“I love this group. One of the biggest things is being on the winning team, ”said Bassitt. “The owner really wants to win. I didn’t think much about a free agency, but for me number 1 is the winning team. Never say never, but I don’t think I’ll go to a team that is having problems. “
Participating in the pennant race replaced any other feelings Bassitta had when he took the mound away on Friday night.
“I’ve already been through the emotions,” said Bassitt. “It’s like:“ Yes, we’re back, but we’re in a fierce division race. I can’t let the emotions of going back and facing these guys take the best of me. It was mainly about being smart and making sure we won.
Clement at home
Ernie Clement, who had refused to be fired from the Cleveland Guardians, arrived at the club two hours ahead of game time and met up with his new teammates.
Clement, 26, achieved 0.200 in 63 games for Cleveland, and in 103 games over two seasons, he achieved 0.214 with three home runs and 15 RBI.
“The plan is to give him a chance in as many matches as possible,” said Kotsay. “With that in mind, everyone here will have a hard time getting him that many opportunities in 11 days, but we’ll do our best to get him there.”
From Cleveland, Clement played third base, second base and left square.
To make way for Clement, designated by A. Sheldon Neuse for assignment.
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