The Cincinnati Reds have claimed starting pitcher Kevin Gausman on waivers from the Atlanta Braves, per reports on Twitter. This is a rather surprising move, as it hadn’t been reported that Gausman had been put on waivers.
I am curious if the Rangers, who were behind the Reds in waiver priority, put in a claim for Gausman. My initial thought is that if the Rangers were wanting Gausman, they could have gotten him in the Chris Martin trade, though Gausman was apparently put on waivers after his August 2 start against the Reds, and it may be that the Braves weren’t ready to pull the trigger on him until then.
Gausman was dealt to Atlanta from the Baltimore Orioles last summer along with Darren O’Day in exchange for a handful of minor leaguers and international slot money. Gausman, who had a career 4.22 ERA and 4.16 FIP for the Orioles, pitched well post-trade for Atlanta, with a 2.87 ERA in 10 starts, but has been awful in 2019, putting up a 6.19 ERA in 80 innings over 16 starts (albeit with a 4.20 FIP).
Gausman is owed $9.35 million for 2019 and has one arbitration season left before hitting the free agent market in 2020. This is basically the Reds spending $3 million to get a look at Gausman and determine if they think he’s fixable over the final couple of months of the season.
Gausman was the #4 overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Orioles, and while he’s widely seen as a disappointment, he has logged 10.0 career bWAR, which is better than anyone other than Ryan Zimmerman and Gavin Floyd who has been picked in that slot since Kerry Wood went #4 overall in 1995. The Orioles have been especially bitten by the #4 pick, having taken Adam Loewen, Brian Matusz, and Dylan Bundy there in recent years. The Royals struck out repeatedly with Jeff Austin, Mike Stodolka and Christian Colon, while the Pirates took Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos and Tony Sanchez there in a four year stretch from 2006-09.