Seemingly flying under the radar, Kevin Gausman would bring a sense of balance to the Cubs in 2021.
The Chicago Cubs’ offseason is shaping up to be one of the strangest we’ve ever born witness to as the sanctity of what fans should consider the shortened Major League Baseball campaign will almost hamper a “normal” period of free agency and large-scale signings.
A majority of teams have geared up in a look to next season and their situational needs. The Cubs find themselves in their own vortex of confusion regarding their approach and how they will handle so much uncertainty looming on the horizon. The team should consider one possible option in free agency to quell the rotational tides is right-handed starting pitcher Kevin Gausman.
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Gausman spent this season in San Francisco after signing a one-year deal last winter. Returning to a much more pitcher-friendly environment after spending time with the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in 2019, Gausman returned to his former self spinning a 3.62 ERA over ten starts.
As a whole, Gausman improved on nearly every major pitching category. His strikeout rate was one of the top in the game, and had he qualified for 2020. It would have fallen in the top-10 right between Kenta Maeda and Yu Darvish. To allow fewer baserunners, Gausman improved his overall walk rate and significantly decreased his WHIP.
Two areas of significant improvement for Gausman came in the form of his FIP and xFIP. Right in line with his strikeout rate had he qualified, Gausman would have finished in the top-15 in FIP and top-10 in xFIP. As someone who would not be considered a top arm in the game in 2020, Gausman showed up significantly.
As we all are more than aware, the Cubs have vital rotation questions heading into next season. The question of whether Jon Lester‘s option will be picked up remains in question as does Jose Quintana‘s future in Chicago. Both Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills showed promise this season. However, having a veteran arm like that of Gausman would bring stability while allowing the young arms, like Brailyn Marquez, to develop further.
Gausman should be a hot commodity on an otherwise uninspiring free-agent market this winter. It would not surprise me to see a handful of teams, including the Giants, in on him for his service. The Cubs could offer Gausman a one or two year deal without breaking the bank and alleviate some rotation concerns. It is undoubtedly something for Cubs fans to keep an eye on as we roll onward to what shapes up to be an interesting offseason.