The Giants are facing a great deal of uncertainty in their rotation as they head into free agency. Right-hander Kevin Gausman, by far their most effective starter in 2020, is slated to return to the open market in the coming weeks. The Giants bought relatively low on the former Oriole, Brave and Red last offseason on a $9MM pact, and he then proceeded to post a 3.62 ERA/3.09 FIP with 11.92 K/9 against 2.41 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings. Gausman may now be the second-best pending free-agent starter in the game, trailing only the Reds’ Trevor Bauer, and looks like a lock for a lucrative deal. In the meantime, the Giants will have to decide whether to issue a qualifying offer worth $18.9MM to the 29-year-old Gausman, though it seems “unlikely” they’ll do that, Maria Guardado of MLB.com writes. The Gausman case is one we at MLBTR have discussed at length in recent days, and we do expect him to receive a qualifying offer, in part because free agency will feature so few starters with front-of-the-rotation potential after Bauer. But in the event Gausman’s not tied to a QO, it would only make him and his 95 mph fastball more appealing on the market.
Here’s more from San Francisco…
- Guardado’s piece also includes a look at potential non-tender candidates for the Giants. Left-hander Tyler Anderson, outfielder Joey Rickard and infielder Daniel Robertson comprise the group. Anderson seems the likeliest for the starter-needy Giants to retain, as he turned in a useful 4.37 ERA/4.36 FIP over 59 2/3 innings this year; moreover, he shouldn’t be in line for a substantial raise over his $1.78MM salary. On the other hand, Rickard and Robertson didn’t play significant roles for the Giants, combining for just 30 plate appearances, so the team could go in another direction.
- Right-hander Reyes Moronta was one of the Giants’ go-to relievers from 2017-19, but he missed all of this year after undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of last season. Moronta was working his way back this past summer, but the Giants never brought him up. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained why, saying (via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area): “He was throwing at the alternate site and we just didn’t see him really getting over the hump and showing the kind of stuff that we saw from him last year. It was really as much a medical assessment as a performance assessment.” Still, Zaidi noted that San Francisco has “high hopes” when it comes to the soon-to-be 28-year-old Moronta, who averaged 97.2 mph on his fastball in 2019. Zaidi hasn’t ruled out Moronta evolving into the Giants’ answer at closer, which is something they lacked during a 2020 effort that fell just shy of a playoff berth, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle observes.
- Reliever Caleb Baragar has hired Wasserman for representation, MLBTR has learned. The left-handed Baragar, a 2016 ninth-round pick who’s now 26 years old, made his major league debut this season. He concluded the campaign with 22 1/3 innings of 4.03 ERA/4.04 FIP pitching and 7.66 K/9 against 2.01 BB/9.
I’m sorry but Gausman is no where near a front of the line starter, even in this free agent class. He’s been wildly inconsistent over the last few years and is a two pitch pitcher. We’ve seen what happens when one pitch is off, he gets lit up. I’m guessing he gets a contract similar to this year. Teams know his weaknesses and why he has bounced around so much during his peak years.
Gausman is more of a swing man than he is a number one or two in any rotation. The guy has two pitches and cannot go deep into games. If someone actually looked beyond his ERA and WHiP, they would see he is a league average pitcher at best who was aided by a 10 point jump in his K% and by playing in a larger ball park. He worse than league average in barrels, hard contact and sweet spot rate. His next contract has disaster written all over it.
Some team may be stupid enough to shell out top dollar…. look at Boston and Eovaldi. Boston was dumb enough to pay that guy 17 million per.
Not sure where you got that Gausman only has two pitches. He threw 4 different pitches in 2020. He only threw his FB a little more than half the time. The split finger and the changeup got regular use. In fact I believe his increased use of the change was a factor in his success this season. He did throw the slider only 6.7% of the time, but don’t underestimate how effective a rarely used pitch can be, hitters aren’t likely to be looking for it.
The pitch tracking systems seem to disagree about what Gaus actually throws. If you look at Statcast, he is primarily two pitches. FanGraphs shows a huge jump in changeup rate this year, but no other system has him with that high a changeup. It’s difficult because a changeup and splitter are similar in terms of tracking and to make things even more confusing, he throws his splitter in a changeup grip, I believe. It’s a bit more difficult than what the pitch trackers say, I think.
Because a split finger fastball is a change up…
Fangraphs says Gausman has a change and a split finger… it’s actually just a split finger.
a split-fingered fastball is not a changeup. its a FASTBALL
“A split-finger fastball or splitter is an off-speed pitch in baseball that looks to the batter like a fastball until it drops suddenly.”
The key word is “off-speed”
Gausman throws his split finger “fastball” 84 MPH and fastball 95 MPH…
Well you may be right. But I wonder, if the splitter and changeup are actually the same pitch, why are the pitch values on Fangraphs so different between the two?
Also, why the big jump in perceived usage? For his first 7 seasons, Fangraphs has Gausman throwing his changeup an average of 3.9%, but they reported his usage in 2020 as 13.6%. Maybe they are the same pitch, that’s beyond my pay grade to argue that they aren’t, but those discrepancies make me wonder.
Gausman went 6 or more innings in 7/10 games this year, and never less than 5 innings in any start.
I hate to be the barrier of bad news but Gausman pitched six innings 3 times and over once, which was 6.1 innings. He went less than 5 innings three times (four including his relief appearance)
I think you mean bearer of bad news.
Two of the three Gausman’s starts that went less than 5 IPs, were his first two starts of the season. Without a true ST, I think you’ll find a lot of pitchers had short appearances in their first couple of starts.
@tad2b13 That is correct. The initial few starts Kapler & the front office were limiting guys to around 60 pitches. It didn’t matter how well guys were performing, it was a pre-cautionary move. Seeing as how there was a record amount of rotation injuries this year I’d say that was a smart move.
Who called Gausman a front line starter? I think the only thing being argued for in this case is if Gausman will cash in on what was a pretty good season.
The article didn’t call him a “front of the line starter. It stated there are few pitchers on the market with “front of the rotation potential after Bauer”. That’s different. A guy that averages 95.4 on his FB, with the stats cited in the article clearly has front of the rotation potential. Not an ace, but a possible #2.
Plus, with the dearth of SPs on the market I can guarantee he does much better than the 1/$9M he got in 2020.
Drew Pomeranz got 36 million after being a good reliever for half a season. Gausman is getting way more than 1/9.
For sure. Of course teams will be more reluctant in the covid era. I’m thinking 3 years/$45M will get the job done.
The Giants. Lol
Joke is getting old dude. Fraud Dynasty
The real LOL goes to the Yankees. Couldn’t even win their division as expected, and then a second round exit from the postseason.
The difference between them and the Giants is, the Giants exceeded expectations, and despite narrowly missing the playoffs, produced a satisfying season. The Yankees, on the other hand, fell short of expectations, which was obviously, not only not satisfying for their fans, but had to be a bitter disappointment overall.
But go ahead and keep LOLing the Giants. Their fans, and I’m sure many Yankee fans as well, know who the real loser is.
I see Gausman getting 3/40 with an option deal. Really Giants should after him and Bauer. Only way to stay competitive in the West.
I see his stats pretty much mirroring Samardjiza except Gausman won’t eat up the innings Shark did. Do you want to go down that road again?
Not a chance in hell Bauer will sign with SF he wants to win now.
There’s definitely a chance if they offer the biggest contract. It wouldn’t be the first time a guy went for the money. Zack Greinke comes to mind.
Giants need a closer so they will be in on Liam Hendricks. Rumors are already circling that they will be heavy onto Springer too for CF.
They have plemty of outfield and infield prospects, so no chance they sign free agents there. Bauer has made it known throughout his career he’s all about the Benjamins. He’s pretty blunt about that fact.
The Giants have been over .500 since May of last year. The idea that the Giants are not a win now team is antiquated.
Bauer will recieve a QO. And he only wants one year contracts. There’s no way we’re giving up a high draft pick for one year of Bauer. Maybe, if he agrees to 3 years or more.
No need to sign him just let Farhan role up his sleeves and dive head first into the dumpster and he will come up with something. Leave no stone unturned, no move is too small, no realistic chance of competing for many years to come but damn does that payroll look nice and low!
90 wins is a realistic target for next season.
The Human Rain Delay
At first I thought it was lunacy to offer the Qo here but they have shown a way of using money as an asset- I keep looking back at the Cozart buy
Maybe they qualify him here hoping 50/50 somebody will pony up a 3/44 for him and he takes it- This all assuming he declines, I Have serious doubts but it is a great time to be a above avg Fa Sp right now
If he does accept they have a tradeable asset at the deadline with only money burned- For a small market team this is a No-go but SF has cash and I think Z sees that they can flex a little now in ways to get cheaper/longer controlled assets later (when they are ready)
This is why it shouldn’t be dismissed that they offer him the QO. The Giants will turn it into something either way. On a payroll-heavy team like the Giants were, it would make no sense. Now? Different story.
Gausman accepts the QO in less than a second if it is made. The question is, can they get that kind of production on a one-year deal for cheaper elsewhere?
Gausman reminds me a lot of Jason Schmidt. 2 pitches that work well but is not dominant as he should be.
The Giants realistically need 4 pitchers this offseason. I’d be fine with them resigning 3 of their own (Gausman, Smyly, Cahill) and a big daddy reliever (Hendricks, Treinen, Colome) to replace Tony Watson.
Not a good free agent class for the giants this year. I think they sit pat and spend big in the 2022 offseason.
Gausman will get a QO. He needs a pitch for hit to contact and grounders, perhaps working in a 2 seamer so he can go later into games.
Hope they have room for Robertson, he was good in a short sample.
I like Tyler Anderson, he’s got fire! Hotheads are OK when they control their emotions and channel it.
Love to see Smyly back on a 2 year deal.
But Giants need help from outside the organization if they want to compete next year. Could see them signing Bauer and possibly push the luxury tax envelope knowing a ton of salary comes off after 2021. They’ve got a good offense, just need better pitching.
I strongly doubt the Giants are foolish enough to give Gausman a qualifying offer. Zahdi is an analytic guy and none of Gausman’s advanced stats suggest he will able to sustain his 2020 success.
Gausman is a league average pitcher who managed to out pitch his peripherals in 10 starts. Outside of a four game stretch at the end of the year, he was very much league average if not below league average and out of those four games, only one of those teams finished above .500 (the A’s)
Just looking at his overall body of work, I think it would extremely foolish to extend a qualifying offer on Gausman. He doesn’t have a track record of success and his advance stats do not support it. You have to take his numbers with a grain of salt given that he pitched one good month and only basically pitched 1/3 of a season.
SIGN HIM!! Gaus pitched amazingly this season. He and Cueto had several games where they took no hit campaigns into the 5th and 6th innings. This was a break season for Gausman.
Nothing more irritating than a guy gets an amazing season with tons of promise, where EVERYONE is impressed and cheering for the guy, only to have “fans” suddenly want to dump the guy as soon as the season ends. Lucky these “fans” dont work in the Giants FO
He LIKES it here. I say they sign him. Hes a number 2..
Oh so now Farhan Zaidi has magical Harry Potter spells that force guys to sign with the team?
Shhhh! Go ahead let everyone know about Farhans Wizadry!!