Prior to reeling everyone in with the announcement that he’d signed with the Cubs, 30-year-old righty Anthony Bass baited the hook with a cryptic tweet.
I have some exciting news… Stay tuned.
— Anthony Bass (@AnthonyBass52) December 14, 2017
He then made the official announcement at 7pm Wednesday night, but I was waiting on further confirmation before writing about it. After all, I figured, it’s entirely possible that we’d been catfished by Bass.
— Anthony Bass (@AnthonyBass52) December 21, 2017
As of post time, the Cubs had not confirmed via Twitter or press release, though Willson Contreras replied to Bass and welcomed him to Chicago with a clapping-hands emoji. Which, I mean, that’s really all the confirmation I need. Bass also amended the bio in his verified Twitter account with the line, “Pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.”
So I think it’s safe to assume that Bass really did sign with the Cubs, but it still seems a little odd that they’ve not come back with anything. That could be because, well, he’s Anthony Bass. Who? Exactly. Or it could have to do with him essentially saying he signed a major-league deal, which may not really be the case.
This reminds me of the time I sent an email inquiry to the EIC of The Cauldron (now defunct) and was “hired” on a probationary basis. I subsequently tweeted out that I’d be writing for them, which drew a mild rebuke from said EIC. I’d love to go in on that further, but this is neither the time nor the place.
While it’s entirely possible that Bass was signed to be part of the 25-man roster, I can’t help but picture Theo Epstein dialing him up and being like, “Hey, Anthony, about that tweet…”
Regardless of the structure and intent of the deal, I suppose it’d behoove us to figure out exactly who this guy is as a pitcher. A Michigander by birth, Bass pitched for Wayne State University in Gotham, er, Detroit before being selected by the Padres in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.
After working primarily as a starter through AAA, Bass was called up in 2011 and made 27 appearances (3 starts) for San Diego. He ping-ponged back and forth between for the next two seasons as a long reliever/swing starter before being traded to Houston in December of 2013. It was one of those deals where Bass and a PTBNL or cash considerations were swapped for a PTBNL or cash considerations. Fun.
An uneventful season in Houston led to Bass being outrighted, after which he signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers and the the carousel began again. He was traded to the Mariners along with Leonys Martin at the end of the 2015 season and was subsequently released to pursue other opportunities, which led to to him catching on with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan for a season.
Bass was back in the US on a minor league deal with the Rangers this past season and made two long-relief appearances in late April and early June. I admire the guy’s persistence, but I think you can agree that it seems a little odd that the Cubs would be giving him a big-league deal.
You might also think it odd that I’ve spent so much time on his journey rather than the numbers he’s posted along it, but there’s a reason for that. First, I love hearing and telling stories. As short and mundane as this one may be, it’s still unique and meaningful to at least one person. The second reason for avoiding stats is because there’s not much there to see.
Bass has a career 4.60 ERA and 4.28 FIP and a 1.76 K/BB ratio that’s anything but notable. His fastball can touch mid-90’s but sits around 92, and he’s got a decent slider that he’ll employ from time to time. He’s not a bad pitcher, per se, there’s just nothing I can find that earmarks him for some sort of leap forward.
On the other hand, Bass does seem like a really good dude whose public persona — and, I can only assume, his private one as well — is incredibly positive. Not that that alone will win ballgames or earn you a roster spot, but it’s nice to have players of that ilk in the organization.
For those of you who may be interested, here’s a quick clip of Bass in action: