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WASHINGTON — The mystery of it all is exciting for Chris Bassitt.
New team, new catchers who earned his trust quickly and new opposing hitters in a new league all are on tap Saturday when Bassitt makes his Mets and National League debuts on Saturday against the Nationals.
“You always want to put your best foot forward, but with a new team it’s a little added,” Bassitt said Friday before the Mets’ 7-3 win over the Nationals. “Hitters have to learn me but I have to learn them, so I’ll see how my game plays out and go from there. I’m hoping it’s Advantage Me, but I’m not sure. I look forward to it, put it that way.”
Bassitt is positioned in the Mets’ rotation behind Max Scherzer, who pitched Friday night. More often than not, he’ll get to watch from the dugout for cues on how a future Hall of Famer attacks the same lineup he will face.
“I might take a couple things from in-game, but especially with Max it’s more so out-of-game and his preparation,” Bassitt said. “How he’s been able to do it for so long and stay so talented and healthy. It’s something I really admire and hope to do the same.”
The Mets acquired Bassitt on March 12 as part of the Athletics’ firesale. He was 27-11 with a 3.26 ERA over 66 games since becoming a regular member of their rotation in 2019.
“I expected to be traded. I just didn’t know to who,” said Bassitt, who is due $8.8 million in his final season before free agency. “We had an idea that they were going to significantly cut payroll and I was one of them. Joining this team that we have, it’s a little more exciting than normal. You always want to be on a contender, so to be thrown on this team is a blessing, no doubt.”
Bassitt’s parents will make the trip from North Carolina to watch his Mets debut, as they often did on East Coast road trips in the past. It won’t be the only sense of familiarity around, either.
Mets outfielder Mark Canha played behind Bassitt in Oakland and was “thrilled” when the trade happened. The list of thrilled parties surely increased when Bassitt’s insurance value skyrocketed after the injury to Jacob deGrom.
“Great stuff, and he has really good conviction behind all of it,” Canha said of his scouting report. “You’ll see a guy with an aggressive mindset who attacks the strike zone and is very sure of himself. He’s a guy you want on your ball club for so many reasons — as a competitor, in the locker room, off the field to have fun around.”