Not that I’m in the business of praising NL Central opponents too vociferously, but I love this move for the Reds.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman is headed to the Cincinnati Reds, sources tell ESPN. He was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. The 28-year-old has one more season remaining until he hits free agency following 2020 though could be a non-tender candidate this winter.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 5, 2019
To be sure, Gausman has been a disaster with the Braves on the results side of the ledger, but it’s really easy to look at his peripherals (at a surface level, anyway) and wonder whether the talent is still all there. Maybe (former Cubs minor league pitching coordinator) Derek Johnson, the Reds’ very well-regarded pitching coach, can turn him around like he did Sonny Gray.
If it doesn’t work, the Reds are out a little bit of money, and they can non-tender him after the season. If it does work, then they just picked up another 2020 rotation option for nothing. With Tanner Roark (now traded) and Alex Wood both free agents after the season, the Reds picked up Trevor Bauer to be a 2020 option, and now they’ve done the same with Gausman. Again, for the Reds, in this current spot, I think it’s a brilliant move.
In the short-term, it’s also possible the Reds will just keep Anthony DeSclafani rolling in the rotation, and without an injury elsewhere, Gausman could pitch out of the bullpen. Maybe that’s the Reds’ angle anyway.
In any case, Gausman’s final Braves start came on August 2 against these very Reds, and they could opt to swing him into the rotation for the upcoming Cubs series (starts August 8, and currently is slated to go Alex Wood, Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo (ouch!)). Or he could be pitching out of the pen.