Orioles send Kevin Gausman to Triple-A; will call him back up next week

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UPDATE: According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed this morning that the plan is for Gausman to return next Friday.

10:45 a.m. ET: The Orioles made a surprising move after last night’s walk-off loss to the Yankees, as they optioned right-hander Kevin Gausman down to Triple-A Norfolk. Brad Brach has been called up from the minors to add some depth to the bullpen.

While the decision looks like a head-scratcher on the surface, there is some logic behind it, as the Orioles can bring Gausman back to the majors to start in a doubleheader against the Rays next Friday. Unless there’s an injury, usually players who are optioned must spend 10 days in the minors before they are eligible to be called back up. However, that’s not the case if the player is the designated “26th man” for a doubleheader. It appears that the Orioles will go that route with Gausman.

The 23-year-old Gausman has been the Orioles’ best starter of late, allowing just two runs in 19 innings across three outings.

Rangers will not exercise Mike Napoli’s 2018 option

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The Rangers have informed 1B/DH Mike Napoli the club will not exercise his 2018 option, worth $11 million, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Instead, the Rangers will pay Napoli $2.5 million to buy him out of his contract, making him a free agent.

Napoli, 35, hit a disappointing .193/.285/.428 with 29 home runs and 66 RBI in 485 plate appearances this past season. Given his age and declining production, it’s not shocking that the Rangers want to look elsewhere.

Napoli turns 36 at the end of the month. Given his age and worsening peripheral stats, he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.