chris bassitt mets
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The Mets kicked off their Winter Meetings by replacing Jacob deGrom with three-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. That’s one helluva pivot, but general manager Billy Eppler mentioned New York is still monitoring the starting pitcher market for a mid-level starter.

That market began moving on Tuesday, limiting the Mets’ options.

New York was heavily interested in Jameson Taillon, but he just agreed to a four-year, $68 million with the Chicago Cubs. Former Met Taijuan Walker also agreed to a four-year deal on Tuesday night. This one is with the Philadelphia Phillies for $72 million. Furthermore, the Texas Rangers agreed to terms with Andrew Heaney on a two-year, $25 million deal.

Despite all this, there are still unsigned hurlers the Mets have shown interest in. This includes Jose Quintana, Nathan Eovaldi, old friend Chris Bassitt, and Kodai Senga.

Reports are suggesting the Mets are most interested in Senga. But since there’s no posting fee attached to him, he has no deadline to sign. So, the hurler and his camp seem content taking their time finding the right deal (while also maxing out the terms, presumably).

We hadn’t heard much about the Mets’ interest in re-signing Bassitt until a few days before the league descended upon San Diego. Most free-agent predictions had Bassitt landing a three-year deal. However, he and his camp are looking for a deal with four guaranteed seasons.

The Mets probably don’t want to do that for a 34-year-old pitcher (they didn’t want to for Jacob deGrom, ya know). But now that some mid-tier starters are getting big deals, the Mets may have no choice.

Senga’s long list of suitors may push bidding to five or six years. Bassitt has a more consistent track record than Walker, so you know they’ll be using his four-year, $72 million deal as a negotiating tool (as they should).

The Mets’ recent actions have told us they don’t want to tie up the payroll with long-term commitments to pitchers. We can see that in the agreements with Verlander and Max Scherzer. That can also be seen in New York’s reported offer to deGrom. The Mets’ preference for Verlander over Carlos Rodon (who is looking for a five- or six-year deal) is just more proof of that.

New York isn’t content with how the rotation currently looks. They want someone else to slot behind Scherzer and Verlander. Those options have dwindled in the past 24 hours, but there are still worthy hurlers to pursue. To get it done, though, Eppler and Co. may have to offer contracts longer in length than they’ve been comfortable doing recently.

Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

 

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.