Chris Bassitt seems to be looking for a four year deal. There is no reason a team like the Royals couldn’t be in the mix on him if they think about the transaction the right way. Starting pitching depth is a definite need. Bassitt happens to be a good starting pitcher, and as long as you give him the right sales pitch, I think he could be good in KC.
One of the problems that teams in the Royals' position can get themselves into in free agency, is thinking of the contract given as a whole contained thing. On paper, a four-year deal to Bassitt when the Royals may not compete in the first couple of years seems like wasted money, but what if you brought Bassitt in and told him we want you and we have your best interest in this deal. Come sign in KC, if we are not competitive we will shop you at the deadline to a contender. The Royals will have to give up draft pick compensation to sign Bassitt - a third-round pick - but they can get some players through a trade to make up for the loss in the draft. If the Royals are the only team willing to go four years, that might be a way to get a better rotation to start the season while hedging your bets a little bit.
A deal like this would not be cheap, but it isn’t that expensive either depending on how you frame it. The prediction on Bassitt from MLBTR was for 3 years and $60 million. That sounds like a lot, but remember when they signed Gil Meche for 5 years and $55 million in 2007? We are fifteen years of salary inflation down the road, this is not an unreasonable amount of money for a pitcher who has averaged over 2.3 fWAR over the last four years. Maybe you don’t need the full fourth year either, instead you could give a player option and give him some flexibility.
Bassitt is going to turn 34 in February, so the first three years set him up as going into is age 37 season. Maybe he could decline the option and go for a two-year deal instead at that point if the results have been good. Maybe 3 years at $19 million each year with a $15 million player option for the fourth year would get it done. Also, keep in mind that the prices so far this year look like 1 WAR is going to be over $9 million in free agency, so in year four a $15 million starter might be only a little over 1 WAR player, not a stud, and if you trade him at any point in the contract it is no longer your problem anyway.
With this and adding back Greinke for $10 million or so, the Royals payroll would end up near $100 million, which they can definitely afford with over $100 million in revenues from national TV deals and $30 million for each team due to the sale of BAMTech at their disposal before we even talk about tickets, parking, licensing, etc. Trade Bassitt half way through and save $10 million of that, get some prospects, and win free agency as well as set your team up for success in the short and near term.