While Kevin Gausman actually pitched better as a reliever than he did as a starter last season, it appears that the Giants view him as a starter to begin this season.
Manager Gabe Kapler told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Gausman and [Drew] Smyly are both considered to be starting pitchers for us heading into spring training, and I think there’s a lot of competition for the final spots.”
So that means the rotation, as it currently stands, is Cueto, Samardzija, Gausman, and Smyly, with five or six guys competing for that final spot.
Still, there’s no guarantee that Gausman will stick in a starting role all season.
He struggled to a 6.19 ERA in 16 starts with the Atlanta Braves last season before he was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds. He logged a 4.03 ERA and 11.7 K/9 in 22.1 innings following the move, spanning 14 relief appearances and one start.
If Gausman gets off to a shaky start or endures an extended rough patch, don’t be surprised to see the Giants move him to the bullpen to see if he can recapture what he did with the Reds last season.