SF Giants hurler Kevin Gausman quickly became a fan-favorite in 2020, and he has continued to add to that title this offseason, choosing to return instead of accepting a lucrative offer from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The SF Giants starting rotation benefitted greatly when Kevin Gausman agreed to return to the team by accepting the team’s $18.9 million qualifying offer. It appears that Gausman really valued returning to San Francisco. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), Gausman had a three-year deal in the range of $40 million on the table from the Toronto Blue Jays but was willing to sacrifice some long-term security to stay with the Giants.
The Blue Jays look poised to be big players in this year’s free-agent market and have already been connected to Gausman, Justin Turner, and Michael Brantley.
The fact that Gausman chose the Giants shorter-term offer for less money means that he really wanted to remain in San Francisco. Last season, the 29-year-old registered a 3-3 record, 3.62 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 1.106 WHIP, and a 32.2 percent strikeout rate against a 6.5 percent walk rate.
He flashed a mid-90’s fastball and paired it with a split-finger, slider, and sinker. His split-finger was easily his bread-and-butter pitch. Thrown 42.2 percent of the time, opposing hitters managed just a meager .106 batting average against it.
To put it simply, he was filthy:
The fact that Gausman received a qualifying offer was a mild surprise, but it was well-earned after he turned in a strong campaign in 2020. Considering how heavy a pursuit the Blue Jays made even with that offer attached, it looks like the right decision by the Giants.
Despite the fact that Gausman is locked up for next season, he could still try to work out a longer-term deal with the franchise. The qualifying offer could just be the starting point in negotiation talks.
The Giants have Gausman, Johnny Cueto, and Logan Webb penciled in to fill three of the five rotation spots next year. On top of this, they will need to decide by December 2 on whether to tender Tyler Anderson a contract for 2021 and Tyler Beede should be returning at some point next season.
The SF Giants have plenty of payroll space left to make an upgrade to the current rotation, but they are in far better shape with Kevin Gausman back in the fold than otherwise. It’s a credit to the Giants organization that the righty was willing to pass on a far larger deal from the Toronto Blue Jays to stay in the city by the Bay.