It is that time of the year, folks. We are now on the verge of the Winter Meetings next week and the rumors are flying all around. In the most recent edition of rumors specifically pertaining to the Dodgers, Bob Nightengale of USA Today has linked right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman to Los Angeles.
Gausman spent time with the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in 2019 and is just 28 years old.
The #Dodgers quietly are being aggressive this winter. They're in talks with free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, and starting pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Kevin Gausman. Several rivals say LA also is willing to listen to trade offers on several of their high-priced players
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 3, 2019
In addition to the Gausman rumors, Nightengale also confirmed that the Dodgers have held discussions with top flight free agents Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg — something we already knew from previous reports.
As Tim Rogers mentioned here at dodgersnation.com earlier, Gausman is an intriguing arm all by himself.
Kevin Gausman is known as a starter but the Reds put him in the bullpen at the end of 2019. He’s a two pitch guy; 95 MPH fastball and a splitter. That’s the same pitch mix as Kirby Yates and it took him a bit to become a great reliever.
As evidenced by his 6.37/3.10 starter/reliever splits, I think Gausman has the potential to play up in the bullpen and I like the fact he uses a splitter.
While he is not the sexiest name on the market per se, something he does have is a good pitch mix and intrigue. Last season, the right-hander had a fantastic 97.4 percent spin efficiency on his fastball, typically a good indicator of success with the pitch. He finished the season with a subpar 5.72 ERA, but his 3.93 FIP points to some bad luck last season. In 2019, the 28-year-old starter turned in an excellent 77th percentile average exit velocity against him, another good mark on his record.
He was once the fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and has enjoyed hints of success in recent years.
While Gausman likely would not fit the team well as a starting pitcher, he represents an intriguing proposition for the Dodgers’ front office as a reliever. His fastball velocity ranked in the 67th percentile last season and that could easily jump into the 80th percentile or so if he became a full-time reliever. The intrigue is there and it could be a low-risk, high-reward type move if they could get him to come on a minor league pact.