Blue Jays: New veterans bringing a fresh identity to the Jays

Mar 13, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) smiles
Mar 13, 2023; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) smiles / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Chris Bassitt is already influencing the pitching staff

After signing a three-year deal with the Blue Jays, Chris Bassitt is penciled in as the number four starter and will help solidify one of the deepest rotations in the majors. That's not all he brings to his new club, however.

As the Toronto Sun's Rob Longley reports, the veteran right-hander didn't take long to impress his new teammates. Bassitt has "been a constant presence at bullpen sessions and starts by his fellow pitchers, soaking up everything he can about those he'll be going to battle alongside."

Fellow veteran starter Kevin Gausman understands how much influence veteran players can have and thinks Bassitt has already made an impression on the other pitchers.

"When you bring in a veteran guy like that, everybody can look and see how it's supposed to be done and it just raises everybody's expectations," Gausman told Longley.

On the mound, Bassitt brings a new wrinkle to the rotation with the variety of pitches he throws. With eight pitches now in his arsenal, his rotation mates are excited to have him on the staff.

"Having a guy like Bassitt, whoever is the day after him is going to have a lot of fun because he throws 10 different pitches and can really mess guys up," Gausman told Longley. "I've been on a lot of staffs where guys have pretty similar stuff and it's just like teams could figure out a plan of attack. In a four-game series, you don't know what you're going to get from us."

The former All-Star also brings a competitive edge to the Blue Jays, having played alongside Max Scherzer, one of the fiercest competitors in the game. Bassitt is using that experience and looking to help his pitching peers gain an advantage wherever they can.

As previously discussed, the 34-year-old recently spoke with Rob Friedman ("The Pitching Ninja") and discussed pushing the envelope and gaining a competitive advantage with the new pitch clock rules.

"Being around Max for a year and us knowing this was all coming, we had a lot of talks over how we'd use this. He's pushing the envelope early," Bassitt told Friedman.

While the starters each have their own unique style, adding Bassitt's fresh, veteran influence and competitive spirit to the mix gives the rotation a new identity and the other pitchers a new perspective to lean on and learn from.

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