It has been a heck of a day for roster moves and signings down at Great American Ballpark. It started with the team announcing they had signed outfielder Travis Jankowski to a 1-year deal. And it seems like it’s ended with the team announcing that they have non-tendered Kevin Gausman. Between all of that they also non-tendered Jose Peraza and signed Mike Moustakas to a 4-year and $64M contract.
The non-tender of Kevin Gausman isn’t surprising. MLB Trade Rumors projected his salary to come in at $10.6M in arbitration for 2020. That’s top end reliever money – and that’s the role that the Reds were planning to use him in. There was not much of a chance that he was going to be tendered.
What there was a chance of, however, was that the team would be able to work out a new contract with him. They would have likely had to made the deal worth his time, though, in order to keep him from simply choosing to become a free agent. That likely would have meant a 2-year offer rather than simply asking him to accept a 1-year deal that was going to be a decline in pay from the $9.35M he made in 2019.
The right-hander is now a free agent. Cincinnati is likely still interested in bringing him back, and nothing is preventing them from doing so. But they are also going to have to compete with other teams for his services. With the Reds he posted a 4.03 ERA in 22.1 innings out of the bullpen to go along with 29 strikeouts. His time with Atlanta as a starter earlier in the year was a different story. With the Braves he posted an ERA of 6.19 in 80.0 innings. Prior to that, though, he had been a slightly better than league average starter. From 2014-2018 he posted a 105 ERA+, throwing 775.2 innings with a 4.03 ERA, 235 walks, and 692 strikeouts for Baltimore and Atlanta. Some teams may still view him as an option as a starter, which could bring him more money on a contract.