Kevin Gausman has been dangled and traded before and understands it’s a part of the game he plays.
But he would prefer to not play that game this year.
The Giants right-hander, on a one-year deal and possessing an attractive skillset for teams with both rotation and bullpen needs, said he hopes to stay with the team with which he has played the first half of the season. He likes the Giants, he trusts their protocols, the club has begun winning and he hopes that means he is not leaving.
“I don’t want to leave these guys honestly. It’s been a really great group of guys. They’ve made coming to the ballpark really fun,” Gausman said over Zoom after the Giants’ 2-0 loss to the Dodgers at Oracle Park on Thursday, getting swept in the abbreviated doubleheader. “In a situation with a pandemic, where it’s pretty frustrating, just all the things we have to go through to even get into the ballpark, these guys have really been great.
“… I’m happy we’re playing really good baseball right now, winning games, but at the same time it’s a business and so whatever happens, happens.”
Gausman was imperfect but still demonstrated why teams would be calling Farhan Zaidi by Monday’s deadline. Against powerful and careful Dodgers bats, the 29-year-old went a long 4 2/3 innings — he threw 93 pitches — and allowed two runs on three hits and two walks. He surrendered a single hit through four innings — a Joc Pederson home run — and struck out six before stalling in the fifth.
He credited the Dodgers, who were not chasing his splitter and running his pitch count up. He threw his favorite and best pitch 47 times — more than even his fastball — and the Dodgers put just one in play (a Gavin Lux groundout). They whiffed at eight of the 13 splitters they swung at.
Pair that with a high-90s fastball, and a power reliever, as he was last year after being picked up by the Reds, comes into play. With a changeup, too, teams may use him as the Giants have in a rotation.
Clubs can be easily impressed by the talent, even with a 4.54 ERA, but he would need to be impressed by the protocols a team that wants him lives under. He called the COVID regulations a “factor” into his decision of whether he would continue playing if dealt.
“I could show up the first day with a new team and just not like the protocols that they’re going through,” said Gausman, who signed a $9 million pact (before it was prorated). “I feel like the Giants have done a really good job of making it go as smoothly as it can. If I’m with a different ballclub, they could not be doing half of the stuff that we’re doing.”
The Giants (15-18) have lost two straight, both to the Dodgers, but begin the easier slate of their season Friday in Arizona in a campaign with expanded playoffs. Zaidi is constantly looking for value, and Gausman is this year’s Drew Pomeranz. The Giants could justify a move in believing Drew Smyly and Jeff Samardzija will return to a rotation that already features Tyler Anderson, who’s been pitching well.
Especially if Gausman fetches a piece who is ready now, the Giants could trade from an area of strength, which their rotation has become, without signaling they are sellers.
Regardless, a trade may not mean that Gausman has thrown his last pitch as a Giant.
“Whatever happens … has no bearing on where I end up next year,” said the Colorado native. “I could get traded and could definitely see me re-signing here. It’s one of those things — I really like this team, I really like all these guys.”