The Giants were known to be looking to re-sign Kevin Gausman, and as the free agent right-hander neared his decision, it appeared as though the Giants were one of the favorites to get Gausman’s name on the dotted line. However interested the club may have been in a reunion, it appears as though the Giants’ explorations never manifested themselves into an actual contract offer.
According to Gausman himself via his Twitter account, “I want to set the record straight for y’all [because] there has been a lot of [BS] out there about this. SF never made me an offer. Simple as that.” It doesn’t appear that Gausman necessarily had any hard feelings over the lack of an offer, as after signing with the Blue Jays prior the lockout, he issued a pair of tweets thanking both the Giants and San Francisco fans.
Gausman’s 2020 season in San Francisco was impressive enough that the Giants issued him a qualifying offer following the season, and the two sides discussed a multi-year deal before Gausman ultimately opted to just accept the one-year, $18.9MM QO. With Gausman pitching even better in 2021, the righty was now lined up nicely for a much bigger multi-year deal that whatever would’ve been on the table from the Giants or other teams in the 2020-21 offseason, and Gausman ended up landing a five-year, $110MM pact from the Jays.
Beyond the Blue Jays and Giants, at least six other teams (the Tigers, Mets, Red Sox, Angels, Mariners, and Cubs) were known to have at least some degree of interest in signing Gausman. Of that group, the Mets reportedly offered Gausman a larger contract than what he accepted from Toronto.
As Gausman’s incumbent team, the Giants had extra time to negotiate with his agents at the Tidal Sports Group and ascertain how much the now 31-year-old was looking for on the open market. If San Francisco either felt Gausman was out of their preferred price range to begin with, or felt the bidding got too intense once the other seven clubs got involved, the Giants might have not bothered making Gausman an offer that they knew wouldn’t be accepted.
This tracks with the perception that the Giants aren’t keen on making nine-figure contract offers in general, or at least not a high salary spread out over an extended period of time. Farhan Zaidi’s front office has spent some money this offseason, if only on shorter-term deals — re-signing Anthony DeSclafani for three years and $36MM, re-signing Alex Wood on a two-year, $25MM pact, and adding a new arm to the pitching staff in Alex Cobb on a two-year, $20MM deal. Beyond those pitchers, Brandon Belt also accepted San Francisco’s qualifying offer, staying in the Bay Area on an $18.4MM salary for 2022.
That adds up to $99.4MM for four players, or less than the Jays paid for Gausman alone. While it could be argued that the Giants have more than enough available payroll space to have signed that quartet plus Gausman, the team seemingly either prefers to spread their dollars around, or are saving a bigger splurge for another player. A right-handed hitting outfielder could fit the bill, as the Giants have been linked to Seiya Suzuki and (before he signed with the Mets) Starling Marte. Free agents like Nick Castellanos or former Giant Kris Bryant also fit the description, but they have asking prices beyond the $100MM mark.