Bass brought about his exit from Toronto by sharing anti-2SLGBTQ+ content on his Instagram account, offering a terse apology, then ultimately doubling down on his views. The Blue Jays expended some effort trying to rehabilitate his image and at one point he was tabbed to take part in the team’s Pride Weekend festivities, but ultimately the situation became untenable for Toronto.
The 35-year-old reliever was also in the midst of an unimpressive season on the field. He began 2023 as one of the team’s high-leverage relievers and saw his role diminish as he posted a 4.95 ERA and 0.0 fWAR.
Although the fact no team claimed or traded for Bass could be interpreted as a rejection of the anti-2SLGBTQ+ rhetoric he promoted, that is unfortunately not the best explanation for the fact he cleared waivers.
Any team claiming him would’ve been required to pay the remainder of his $3 million contract for 2023. Now that he has cleared waivers a club interested in signing him will only have to pay a prorated portion of MLB’s minimum salary (720K) while the Blue Jays eat the rest of his deal.
No club was eager enough to get Bass to pay all the money left on his contract, and as a middle reliever in the midst of subpar season his trade value was negligible.
Considering the right-hander was highly effective as recently as 2022 when he posted a 1.54 ERA, it would not be shocking to see him catch on with another MLB team. While some clubs may want no part of him, others will see Bass as a buy-low opportunity.
For seven days 29 MLB clubs rejected Bass, but what some of them were really rejecting was the concept of paying a player more than they absolutely had to.