Here at ESR, we’ve been pretty outspoken against the way the O’s have been yo-yoing Kevin Gausman this season.
His season has, thus far, gone pretty much like this: get called up, make a good-to-great start, get sent down for an odd amount of time, repeat.
It’s been extremely frustrating for fans – and broadcasters – to watch; after yesterday’s start, “Gas Man” is now 3-2 with a 3.51 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 24 Ks and 13 BB in 33.1 IP. He’s also allowed just a single home run. Watching him, it’s apparent that he’s ready to be slotted into the rotation every fifth day.
However, sometimes we fans lose track of the bigger picture. In addition to concerns about having him pitch too many innings to early in the year (we don’t want a Steven Strasburg situation on our hands, should the Birds make the postseason), there is also the question of service time and MLB free agency.
We want Gausman under control for as long as possible, don’t we?
Gausman needs to get sent down one more time, and I think it should be over the All Star Break.
If Gausman spends just 2-3 more days in the minors, then he’ll fall short of a full year of service and we’ll control his rights through 2020. If we don’t send him down again, he’s a free agent after 2019. With as good as he is, that extra year, even at 4th-year-of-arbitration prices, could be extremely valuable. I’d let him make his next start before the All-Star Break, then send him down. Use those 4 off days to our advantage. As suggested by Rob’s thread, I’ll throw in the “Jimenez to bullpen” idea.
Monday 7/7- Tillman
Tuesday 7/8- Chen
Wednesday 7/9 – Norris (if healthy, Jimenez on 3 days rest otherwise?)
Thursday 7/10 – Gonzalez
Friday 7/11 – Gausman (sent to minors after game)
Saturday 7/12 – Tillman
Sunday 7/13 – Chen
Monday 7/14 – ASB
Tuesday 7/15 – ASB
Wednesday 7/16 – ASB
Thursday 7/17 – Off
Friday 7/18 – Norris
Saturday 7/19 – Tillman
Sunday 7/20 – Chen
Monday 7/21 – Jimenez or Gonzalez
Tuesday 7/22 – Gausman (recalled after 10 days, and no longer possible to reach 1 full year of service)
He doesn’t even really miss a start, he takes his turn both times through the rotation, just moves to the end of the line the second time. He could even make a start in Norfolk on the 16th or 17th if we wanna keep him throwing.
Also, if anybody gets hurt (doesn’t have to be a pitcher), he could come back up before the 10 days, perhaps even for the first or second game after the break if you wanna throw him that early.
That’s the best argument I’ve heard yet for sending Gausman down again. If sending him down just one more time means that he’s a free agent after 2020 instead of 2019, it’s a no-brainer, right?
Well, maybe. On the one hand, Mackus makes perfect sense. On the other, we have to remember that these players are human beings, not robots. Is all of this up-and-down messing with Gausman’s head at all? As long as he completely understands the moves, then sure, have at it. Based on his recent starts, the send downs/call ups don’t seem to be affecting him negatively, but is that something the team can count on to last into perpetuity?
Here’s Gausman after yesterday’s game:
“Been kind of a journey, going around seeing some places that I’ve already been, but I guess that’s all part of the process…Ya know, it’s a little tough (getting sent down and brought back up), but honestly I’ve kinda gotten used to it of late, and it’s a process, and it’s part of being a good teammate.”
He said all the right things, but who’s to say what’s really going on in his head?
It’s a delicate balancing act that the front office is playing right now, that’s for sure.
Either way, hopefully we see Gausman’s name in the rotation every fifth day sooner rather than later.
What do you think?