Reds claim Kevin Gausman off waivers from the Braves

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We still only have one trade deadline, with waiver trades that we used to have in August all gone, but August waivers still exist for their own sake. That means a team can place any player it wants on waivers and other teams can claim him. If the player is claimed and the team which placed the guy on waivers does not want to lose him, they can still pull him back. All that can’t happen now is that the first team and the claiming team cannot make a trade for the guy. It’s either let him go with no strings or keep him.

That just happened to Braves pitcher Kevin Gausman, who was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds. He is now a member of the Reds, and the Reds have to take on the remainder of his $9.35 million salary for 2019, which amounts to close to $3 million. Gausman is arbitration eligible this offseason and the Reds can keep either keep him or non-tender him, making him a free agent.

It might be the latter unless he shows the Reds something in the season’s final two months. Gausman is 3-7 with a 6.19 ERA and has 85 strikeouts against 27 walks in 80 innings of work over 16 starts. Indeed, the Reds just saw the 2019 Gausman up close and personal on Friday when he gave up five runs on eight hits in four and two-thirds innings to Cincinnati batters in his last start as a Brave.

He’s just been crazy hittable this year compared to last year and especially compared to his performance after being traded to Atlanta last year. In the ten starts after Baltimore traded him he pitched the best baseball of his career whereas the 16 starts this year is pretty much his worst stretch ever. Maybe Reds scouts saw something they could tweak on Friday? Who knows.

The fact of the matter is that the real Gausman is someplace in between last season’s good run and this season’s bad one. He’s a more or less league average starter. That could be valuable enough for the Reds to keep in 2020. It probably depends on how he does for the rest of 2019.