Who Is Kevin Gausman?

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

As far as winter hot stove activity goes, rarely have we seen so much action take place before the annual Winter Meetings as we have this year. Most of the big free agents are still on the board, but plenty of clubs uncharacteristically have already snatched up dozens of serviceable players. The Dodgers, on the other hand, have stayed very much quiet, at least in terms of new player acquisitions.

Just because Andrew Friedman and his crew haven’t brought in anyone new doesn’t mean they have not been active. The Dodgers have been linked to some of the biggest available free agents on the market, including (but not limited to) players like Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and Josh Donaldson.

On Tuesday, just as the smoke was clearing from all the reports about which arbitration-eligible players were tendered contracts for 2020, news came that the Dodgers were chatting with free agent pitcher Kevin Gausman. While it’s not surprising news, it is indeed a bit ironic that the lanky right-hander was grouped with such an elite class of free agents.

Nevertheless, Gausman may be just the type of player that Friedman may target. Some outlets projected Gausman to score more than $10 million through arbitration this winter, which is probably the main reason why the Reds decided not to tender him a contract.

For those who don’t remember, Gausman was initially drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round back in 2010. However, he decided to attend LSU and came out two years later when the Orioles chose him as the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Cincinnati claimed Gausman off waivers from Atlanta last August and let him work exclusively out of the bullpen down the stretch of the season. For the entirety of 2019, the Colorado native made 31 appearances—17 of which were starts—tallying a 3-9 record with a 5.72 ERA, a 3.98 FIP and 114 punchouts over 102-1/3 innings of work.

As a starter last season, the 28-year-old Gausman threw an even 82 innings and registered a 6.37 ERA. As a reliever, though, he tossed just over 20 innings and produced a much more reasonable 3.10 ERA. Lifetime, he has started 154 games and tallied a 4.34 ERA and a 1.357 WHIP. Career-wise as a reliever, he has made 37 appearances and posted a 3.58 ERA and a 1.139 WHIP. Conceivably, these are some figures that could prompt Friedman’s interest, especially if Gausman is willing to latch on as a middl(ish) reliever as his career moves forward.

Gausman earned $9.3 million last year, but the fact that he’s currently a free agent throws all of his arbitration projections out the window.

During his early years in the bigs, the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder was known to crank his four-seamer up to near triple digits, but his velocity has dropped off in recent seasons.

Here’s a chart of his repertoire and his velocities as provided by Brooks Baseball:

Brooksbaseball-Chart (1)

Personally, with Gausman, I don’t see much of an upgrade over any of the main arms in the Dodgers’ existing bullpen, especially if guys like Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Caleb Ferguson might be throwing in relief right out of spring camp. More than anything else, I don’t see any overwhelming value, specifically if he’s going to be commanding a salary in the $7-9 million range as a reliever.

Regardless, we all know how creative Friedman can be at times, especially if Gausman doesn’t draw much interest around the league before camp opens in February.


50 thoughts on “Who Is Kevin Gausman?

  1. I can just see the headline: “After Showing Extreme Interest In Cole, Strasburg, Rendon and Gausman The Dodgers Today Signed One of Their Top Four Choices, Kevin Gausman”

    And I can just see the response from Bear, Scoop, IJDM and Rich (which I won’t bother to show here).

  2. Gausman? Who cares?

    This team, and this organization, needs a game changer. And by that I mean a guy that can step forward and carry them through October. We’ve been there 7 straight and THAT GUY hasn’t manifested. It’s not Kershaw, it’s not Jansen, it’s not Turner, it hasn’t been Bellinger or Seager, though it could be either going forward. Maybe it’s Lux, Muncy, Buehler, Verdugo or Smith. It could be Rendon, Cole or Strasbourg I don’t know. To be honest I don’t see that guy on the team now. Fans know this. You can hear the rumblings all over the blogosphere. The question is, does Friedman know it?

    It’s time. Go bold or go home.

      1. So, you weren’t inspired by my speech Jefe? Just a critique of one small point.

        Yeah, Turner has been ok. Not a great WS against Houston. 1 for 9 in the last 2 games this year. Career 236 PA’s, 9 home runs, 35 RBI’s. Obviously wasn’t enough.

      2. JT may have had a lackluster last 2 games this year but his post season numbers are excellent. Even this year, in the full 5 game series his OPS was 1.000 and his OPS over those 236 PA’s you mentioned is .931. I notice that when people discuss potential Lindor trades or the signing of a new third baseman they refer to this being JT’s last year on his contract and most seem to be ready to let him ride into the sunset. I want to keep him around after 2020 because I’m convinced he still has value to add to the roster and I’m positive that we’ll see the DH starting in 2022. That would be an ideal role for him, assuming he doesn’t go into a major hitting decline and I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.

      3. All true. And I’m still talking about the guy who wins a World Series MVP. 7 straight trips. And we don’t have one. Since we started this run Houston has one. Boston has two. Washington has one. Chicago has one. SF has one. Heck, even Kansas City has one. We don’t have one.

  3. Andy Friedman starring in “The Trash Man Cometh”.

    Wow, this guy is so predictable.

    1. Boy are you going to be surprised. He’s working on a major deal with Boston. We’re going to get Betts and take Price and Eovaldi in the deal and we’re going to send them Agon, Crawford and Punto. They’re just quibbling now over whether we’re willing to include Tyler White.

      1. Boy, aren’t we getting formal, Alexander G. Actually I think his given name might just be Alex. He did have a couple of “moments to remember” when he played here. Just checked and he’s played the last three years in Japan.

    1. He’s the next Hader. Only problem is he walks too many guys. If he could get that solved………………………………..
      He’s already 31 so I’m not sure if he’s suddenly discovered something or what.
      Just a sss pen, but here are how some of his pitches measure up to MLB LHP

      FB velo – 99th percentile
      FB vertical movement – 96th percentile
      CB vertical movement – 99th percentile

      1. Probably, but maybe we’ll get lucky and this will be another “come out of nowhere” story.

    1. I think that’s a pretty safe bet Keith, based on what we’ve seen already.
      The one guy I could see taking a long time might be Cole and I’m convinced it’s going to be the Angels or the Yanks. They have both indicated they’ll do whatever it takes to get him which has got to make Boras very very happy since they can’t both have him.

  4. How pathetic is our off season when we’re talking up some guy whose mother doesn’t even know where he’s been pitching at!

  5. While Moreno and Cashman are in their tug of war I’d like to see the Dodgers sign Strasburg. The talk is Rendon will be the first domino and if he re-signs in Washington I wonder what that might mean for Strasburg.

    1. I think the Nats could sign them both if they really wanted to but they make it sound like they only have money for one and I’m guessing they would prefer Rendon, although Strasburg is probably the easier one to re-sign. Just a guess, but I think both these guys will be signed somewhere within the next 10 days or so. Strange how there has been very little talk about Ryu in the last few days. We could do worse than to wind up just bringing him back as far as starters go.

      1. Ryu and Strasburg both concern me. Strasburg is 32 next July and just threw 240 innings. Ryu is 33 next March and has a history of medical issues. Can either of them finish whatever contract they are given with enough WAR to justify that contract? Ryu for 3 makes some sense. Strasburg for 5 may work, but he’s gonna want 6. One has to wonder how limited he may be as he approaches age 35. At 6 and $180m he would need to average 3 WAR until he’s 37 to earn the money. He threw over 100 pitches 26 times this year. Can he keep doing that? Or did he just peak in his contract year?

        I’m of course fine with signing either of these guys. I’m fine with Rendon or Donaldson too. I don’t think either of them are as necessary as pitching but if Olaf gets one of them of course I will welcome them.

  6. Ho, Hum, fat chance OLAF the OAF does anything significant at the meetings. The trade with the Reds last year came after the meetings. He rarely does business there. He did his first year when he traded Dee Gordon and Kemp and bunch of balls to get Grandmal and the other piecemeal guys they acquired. Hernandez, Barnes, Kendrick. Rollins. But even the Lindor noise has died down, and no way they are trading for Betts. The guy has already stated he is going to test free agency after the season, so he is not worth trading for. I will be proved right again. I think they will get serious with Ryu, since it looks like the Twins really want the guy.

    1. You know I am inclined to agree with you on this, but something feels different this time. I think it’s for two reasons: 1. Olaf has money to spend. And think about that for a moment, when in his career did he have money to spend? If memory serves it was once (2015) and he spent it. (I had one of many disagreements with a blog owner about this. He INSISTED the Dodgers would immediately go under the cap, I said the cap won’t matter, and payroll shot up to a record setting $310 million. I was right. He was wrong) And the second reason I think it is different this time is Friedman must feel the heat from the LA fan base. LA wants a championship. Whether it comes from the Rams, the Lakers, or even USC, fans around here want a winner and coming close just isn’t going to get it anymore. I think Friedman wants to go for it. The question is, which player does the math work on? For all the reasons I’ve already stated, I’m not sure it works on any of them.

      1. Scoop, the vibe is different. And they have about 29 million free when all is said and done. But the man is the same, he does not look to me like the heat of the fan base’s mistrust and frustration bothers him one bit. Everything he say’s points in the same direction and is the same rhetoric we heard last year when he repeatedly said, the Dodgers were going to make a splash. It barely rippled the waters. Had Harper agreed to the fewer years and higher AAV, then maybe things would look different to me. The guy is a classic side show barker, promising the snake woman and delivering a dead snake.

  7. Very interesting, Tommy Pham and a PTBNL traded to the Pads for Hunter Renfroe, and the Pads 14th ranked prospect, really like Pham, he had a rough start last season but still ended up with decent numbers. From what I remember AF had tried to trade for Pham, when he was still with the cards.
    Preller has already made two decent trades, and he’s not even to the winter meetings yet. If the Pads were to get some pitching they could be dangerous this season. I could see them making a bid for Ryu.

    1. I really like Pham too Keith and would have loved to have him here, but of course we have plenty of outfielders at the moment. As usual the Rays seem to have done this trade for money reasons although I’m hearing very good things about the shortstop prospect they got in the trade.

    2. The Padres system is very, very deep, like the Dodgers. So what is 14th there is probably much higher for other teams.

      1. Good point and on top of that, although I heard 14 last night, this morning I heard that he was #6. In any case, he’s a very good prospect.

  8. Jorge Castillo reporting, the Dodgers have interest in Trienan. Some of you guys had already proposed that here, good thing to see AF is paying attention to you guys.😀
    What do you guys think, is Trienan washed up or can he get himself back to where he was?

    1. You never know with relievers Keith.

      I just read humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas. That might explain a lot.

    2. The baseball experts are in total agreement on Treinen. He can definitely get himself back to where he was, or he might be totally washed up. I would take a chance on him as long as he supplies his own bananas.

  9. Well Howie is headed back to DC. Morrow is very close to re-signing with the Cubs on a minor league deal. Avila signing with the Twins, Winkler signs with the Cubs, and the Dodgers big move……signing Casey Crosby! How can you lemmings really believe in this guy?????? OLAF the OAF. What a big joke.

  10. If you have the athletic subscriptions you should read Rosenthal’s new article on the Dodgers.

      1. Won’t do that. Sorry. Here are some snippets:
        on courting free agents:
        “Friedman entered last offseason saying his front office’s mindset was “to be aggressive, without reaching the point of stupidity.” The offer to Harper definitely fits both descriptions, but a more widely circulated quote of Friedman’s from three years ago is perhaps more instructive.

        “If you’re always rational about every free agent, you will finish third on every free agent,” Friedman said.”

        So you can be rational and end up adding no additional talent, or you can go big to get the guy that you want.

      2. Bluto? Is that you?

        I’ve heard the quote before. And what means to me, or maybe more appropriately put, what I would be looking at to avoid stupid is the total WAR likely to be purchased by that contract. For example, I didn’t think the Harper contract was all that stupid because of the age of the player. $300 million is roughly 30 WAR. And that’s with today’s $/WAR. I figured a 26 year Harper course easily put up that much WAR over the remainder of his career. He’s kind of a physical freak. I don’t know that I can say that about Cole, Strasburg or Rendon. Maybe Rendon, but I find pitchers into their 30s give me pause. And I think Friedman looks at it that way too. He might be willing to risk the last 2 years of a contract if he feels he can get 4+ WAR in the first 3-4 years.

      3. IT’s me. The struggle of fake names did me in.

        Rosenthal quoted the offer to Harper as over a record-breaking AAV but for only 3 years.

      4. No sweat man. Good to see you here. Don’t be a stranger.

        I read the AAV is $25million. He is already ahead of schedule putting up 4.2 WAR this year. He’s going to do that every year for at least 5 years. After that he can DH and put up 2.5 WAR for the remaining 5 years making that contract a bargain. You can do that with 26 year hitters. You can’t do that with 30 year old pitchers

      5. Rosenthal estimated the Dodgers’offer to have an AAV between 35 and 40 million.

    1. That makes more sense really. Pay only for the productive years. If they are as old as these 3 guys are – 5 year contract at most. Won’t happen.

      1. And that, to generalize marvelously, is Rosenthal’s point.

        Being practical won’t bring you the big FA, and this may be the time to go for a big FA.

Leave a Reply