Should the Orioles think about trading Kevin Gausman, too? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Should the Orioles think about trading Kevin Gausman, too?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—The Orioles have patiently waited for Kevin Gausman to become a dominant pitcher, and while he hasn’t done so here, other teams are eager to see him try to become one elsewhere.

As the Zach Britton sweepstakes nears its end, the Orioles face a fascinating dilemma. Should they be satisfied with dealing Britton and Manny Machado—and possibly Brad Brach and Adam Jones?

Or should they expand their horizons to include Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Jonathan Schoop?

Teams are interested in Gausman, Bundy and Schoop. Of the three, Schoop is the closest to free agency. He’s eligible after next season while Gausman must wait until after the 2020 season, and Bundy can declare a year after that.

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The Orioles could flood their farm system with young talent if they got the right prospects for those three, but Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette downplayed the chance of that happening last Wednesday in a conference call with reporters after Machado’s trade.

Duquette said the Orioles would concentrate on moving the free agents to be, and said Britton was next.

With speculation that scouts were watching Gausman, he delivered an uneven performance in the Orioles’ 5-3 loss, their fourth straight, to the Boston Red Sox on Monday.

Gausman’s ERA is 4.54, and he had to pitch through two brief rain delays before getting pulled with two outs in the fifth. He was charged with five runs.

His worst moment came when he walked Rafael Devers, Sandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. in succession in the fifth, leading to a four-run inning.

“Nothing against those guys, but they’re not the top of their lineup,” Gausman said. “Those are kind of, especially in a lineup like theirs, those are your outs that you have to get. As a pitcher who does really well against lefties, to walk three in a row, it’s pretty frustrating.”

Gausman said he didn’t feel the stoppages hurt him.

“It really just seems like it added about two more innings, throwing-wise,” he said.

Manager Buck Showalter adjusted his schedule so that Gausman would get extra rest after the All-Star break. It was Gausman’s first start since July 12, when he allowed a career-high 12 hits against Philadelphia.

Showalter almost seemed to give Gausman a pass for this one, especially since the initial delay came after just two outs.

“I thought he came in with pretty good stuff,” Showalter said. “I know it’s frustrating. The first inning, and then he gets that delay. There’s nothing you can do about it.

“I thought he was sharp, but it’s tough to judge the outing with the circumstances that he had to pitch under. Back and forth and a lot of unknown, warming up on the mound, not sure if there was going to be another delay, which there was. “

But, what can Gausman fetch on the market? And, is it really in the Orioles’ best interest to deal him?
Gausman said it was a compliment to hear that he’s drawn interest.

“Obviously, I don’t think teams would be saying that if there wasn’t something there to like,” Gausman said. “Obviously, it feels good, but I’m with the Orioles now, and I’m trying to help this team win.

Of course, they can wait until the offseason when a team could have two seasons of the pre-free agent Gausman. Then they could assess the performances of the five players acquired for Machado and the additional ones in a Britton trade, and see how close they are to a rejuvenated team.

The argument for trading Gausman is, can the Orioles contend before he’s a free agent? If they can’t, they should deal him?

Showalter admitted Saturday in Toronto that he overestimated the team’s talent this year and is looking forward to a makeover.

“You need to prepare yourself to be good enough to have another good cycle and ride it as long you can,” he said. “I stand accused, all of us, of trying to get another year out of the cycle.”

There’s a good argument for keeping Gausman, too. With Bundy, Gausman, Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb around next year, perhaps with an infusion of youth and athleticism, the team could be ready to surprise on the upside in 2019.

And the Orioles, who lost for the 73rd time against just 28 wins, need to try to field a somewhat competitive team while trying to build for the future.

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 24, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Sure they should think about it. Should they actually trade him? Unless somebody bowls you over with an offer you can’t refuse, my inclination is to not trade him. And that goes for Bundy as well. Competant pitching is simply too hard to come by unless you can afford to buy it like the 2 evil empires to our north. So unless somebody offers a boatload of proven talent, I say you keep him. But in the mean time, there’s certainly no harm in seeing what you can get.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

      I think this encapsulates the Orioles’ present thinking.

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    July 24, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Blow it up. Things can’t get any worse, and a young corps ready to come together by 2021 beats anything we’ve seen in the past 21 years, other than 2014.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 9:44 am

      I would think that three years to be competitive is realistic, Enigma. The Phillies changed up their management team in 2015, and they’re now back in the hunt.

  3. 54orioles

    July 24, 2018 at 8:26 am

    I have answered this question before by saying no one should be exempt from being a trade chip. This team needs a complete starting with the front office. Need executive who can recognize talent in all areas, better scouts, better coaches, better trainers, and on-field managers that understand the younger players.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 9:46 am

      You say the Orioles need better scouts. I think their scouts are actually pretty good. They need more scouts. Their scouting department is probably the smallest in the majors. And, I think the minor league managers and coaches have done a good job at developing players. They just need more players to develop.

      • Birdman

        July 24, 2018 at 10:20 am

        Rich, interesting info that that the Orioles probably have the smallest scouting department in MLB. That’s something that I, and I’m sure most fans, were not aware of. Yet another aspect of how severely dysfunctional the Orioles are as an organization.

    • 54orioles

      July 24, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Rich, I did not comment on the minor league coaches so you are probably right on that point. As far as the scouting goes, if you have too few of something it weakens the results. I think this is proven out by the weakness shown in player development.

  4. Orial

    July 24, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Last night was a microcosm of Gausman’s career–lights out then loss of control. A perfect example of what a little tweaking could improve(high fastball). I say hold onto him and let a new pitching coach/ team approach work With him.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 9:49 am

      Since Gausman has been with the Orioles, he’s had four pitching coaches: Rick Adair, Bill Castro, Dave Wallace and Roger McDowell. It will be interesting to see if Gausman’s back next year who he gets to work with.

    • 54orioles

      July 24, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Same with the batting coaches.

  5. TxBirdFan

    July 24, 2018 at 8:38 am

    What is it with all the O’s starting pitchers getting knocked around in innings 4-6? Bundy, Gausman, Cobb even Cashner seem to get thru the first 3-4 innings just fine, but then the crooked numbers start to pop up. Do they not adjust the 2nd and 3rd time thru the lineups? Are they tired? Maybe Buck needs to limit the innings for everyone to 4! We definitely need a better approach. Otherwise if you trade Gausman you should trade them all since everyone’s results are the same.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Perhaps it’s the hitters who are doing the adjusted, Tx. You can’t limit starters to four innings consistently. Otherwise, your bullpen will wear out quickly.

    • Ekim

      July 24, 2018 at 10:38 am

      I’ve been screaming (to my baseball buddies with a few posts to this site) GET RID OF MCDOWELL!!!!!!!!!!!!! He came in and made a marginally acceptable pitching squad into a dysfunctional mess. At Atlanta, their pitchers were the same way. I know about the injuries and other excuses but you can’t ignore the lack of results and performance. I can say the same thing (lack of performance) about the hitters and I feel the same way about Coolbaugh. If he’s trying to get them to do something different and they don’t listen then get rid of him and get someone who can get their attention.

  6. garyintheloo

    July 24, 2018 at 9:03 am

    The current brain bust of the Orioles doesn’t promote confidence in their evaluation process so I say blow the team up for all the reasons Paul Folkemer noted so well earlier. Past time to set the refresh button on everything, even the cartoon bird logo. That worked once before.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    July 24, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Sure, but I don’t see it as a priority. Unless someone blows you away with a deal, Gausman can stay right where he is and you can revisit in the winter, or maybe next July. I’m open to moving Bundy or Gausman, but not both. I mean, the Orioles are actually having a Tim Beckham T-shirt night.

    Tim. Beckham. T Shirt. Night.

    Clearly they will need SOMEONE to put on the bobbleheads next summer. Plus, I can’t help but marvel at the absurdity. The number one gripe from Oriole fans since the 21st century began has been “the pitching sucks”, and now everyone wants to get rid of the two competent pitchers? Strange days…

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

      The theory is if the team isn’t going to ready to compete before Bundy and Gausman are eligible for free agency, then they should consider trading them for players who can help them then.

      The argument for keeping them is basically yours, you need decent starters, and they are certainly that.

    • Ekim

      July 24, 2018 at 10:42 am

      To BM… they could make a Peter Angelos bobble head. He fits the description perfectly!

    • Paul Folkemer

      July 24, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Past Orioles T-Shirt nights have included Jason Berken, Felix Pie, and Cesar Izturis, so it’s not like Beckham is an outlandish choice.

  8. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    July 24, 2018 at 9:41 am

    100% they should be shopping Gausman. There’s no point in his being on this team during a rebuild. Why keep him here for the next two seasons, while they’re guaranteed to be in last place? Turn him into a package of players.

    They have to be all in, or they’re headed for another ten years of losing. And being all-in means you need to trade those pieces that have service time remaining. Bundy and Gausman should go. Probably Cobb too, but not this year since they would be selling low. Cashner could be a trade chip this time next year.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Alex Cobb has a full no-trade clause in his contract for this year. In the next three years of his contract, he can designate 10 teams where he can’t be traded. A team picking him up would be assuming the rest of his four-year, $57 million deal. Not happening.

  9. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    July 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

    “the team could be ready to surprise on the upside in 2019”

    Yeah, that’s not happening. Come on, Rich — this same team with the addition of — who, exactly? — is going to surprise people next season? I don’t buy that at all. The only player from the minor leagues who looks like he is ready to try his hand in MLB is Mullins. That’s it. He’s the only one with an actual position, who can field the position, and may be able to hit MLB pitching. Maybe. Everyone else is either a huge question mark, or has zero defensive value. Dosch? Mountcastle? Neither is ready to field their positions at the major league level. Cisco is a huge letdown. Maybe he’ll be better next year, but I doubt it. He doesn’t hit well enough to be defensive catcher, and doesn’t defend well enough to be the light hitter that he looks to be. And there’s really no one else who you can reasonably project to be a quality major leaguer as soon as next year. Stewart has no patience, and is notoriously streaky. The kind of player they simply do not need. Hays has had a miserable season, and perhaps he’ll bounce back next year. Santander isn’t ready.

    “…need to try and field a somewhat competitive team while trying to build for the future.”

    Why, exactly? What’s the value in being “somewhat competitive” if by doing so you further delay or spoil the rebuild? They need to take their lumps and commit to a full rebuild now. The time to do a partial reload was last year, but they foolishly decided to buy at the deadline, instead of sell.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 10:07 am

      I don’t think it is, but in 1989, the year after they lost 107 games, they surprised on the upside. If they improved their defense, and a few players hit a bit better, they might not be so unwatchable. I would think they’ll try for some bridge free agents who are glove-first next offseason.

      DJ Stewart, who’s hitting only .242, is extremely patient. His OBP is .349, and for his minor league career, his OBP is more than 100 points higher than his batting average. However, his hitting since his injury doesn’t merit a major league callup.

      I wonder if the fans, who are certainly turned off now would buy into a two or three-year rebuild.

    • Ekim

      July 24, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Rich… Stewart is nothing more than a minor league perennial, like Yastrzemski. He’s good enough to warrant bench space in Triple A or maybe an occasional All Star in double A. But, a major leaguer… NO! The only reason he’s at Norfolk is the O’s have so much money tied up in him as a first round pick.

      • Rich Dubroff

        July 24, 2018 at 5:24 pm

        Ekim, yes Stewart is a first-round pick and Mike Yastrzemski wasn’t, but Stewart hit 21 home runs at Double-A last year and stole 20 of 24 bases. The Orioles do have a lot invested in him, but his batting average, power numbers, speed numbers and OBP are far better than Yastrzemski.

  10. Steve Cockey

    July 24, 2018 at 10:09 am

    I’ll have a hard time buying that the O’s are actually committed to a full-scale rebuild (something they’ve never really done under Angelos) if they don’t trade at least one controllable player in the next week. There are plenty of options: Gausman, Givens, Schoop, Bundy. You’d think that they could maximize their value on at least one of them by making the trade now vs. waiting into the offseason or beyond. Let’s not make the Machado/Britton mistake all over again.

    • Ekim

      July 24, 2018 at 10:45 am

      Steve… I’m with you! No point in waiting. Get something while they still have real value.

  11. Jack Gibbons

    July 24, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Zoey Dog makes a good point about a rebuild — you have to be all in, with the courage to match your vision. As Rich notes, they need more scouts, more players to develop, better analytics, a commitment to international talent — a change in philosophy from top to bottom. Fans will be patient if they see a plan taking shape, with a growing talent base. Many of the players on the team now have little upside. A transformation will require patience, a plan and the right people in charge pulling in the same direction.

  12. Justin Lego

    July 24, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I think the O’s should strongly consider trading Bundy and Gausman. This about capitalizing on an opportunity while it exist. The starting pitching trade market at this deadline isn’t exactly filled with frontline starters, so teams in need of pitching are looking for solid mid rotation type guys instead. We’ve also seen a huge shift where teams value years of control and actually prefer that over a rental. Well, you have 2 starters in Gausman and Bundy who would be solid mid rotation guys for most teams, they have multiple years of control remaining, and they might have more upside than most other starters on the trading block. Everything has fallen in place to get a massive return on either of these guys RIGHT NOW. There’s no guarantee that we will have this same opportunity in the future.

  13. Birdman

    July 24, 2018 at 11:23 am

    If the Orioles are only willing to trade players (Machado, Britton, Brach) who will be gone from the team anyway in two months, it’s certainly false advertising to claim that they are in a “rebuilding” mode.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      There is nothing that precludes the Orioles from looking at trades after the season, too. Teams that aren’t necessarily in the race now may be interested then.

  14. SpinMaster

    July 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    I, like at a lot of us are confused. If we are pointed towards the future then when do we see changes on the field? Frankly, our lineup looks the same with the exception of missing Manny and the results have not changed. Are we trying to trade the Danny Valencia’s and Jace Peterson’s of the world? Do they have any value to a contending team?

    When do we cut loose the stop-gap players that we have here and call up the kids. Frankly, if we are going to lose, I would rather lose watching our kids grow up in the majors than seeing the same players who haven’t gotten the job done this year and seem unwilling to make any sort of changes in their approach to hitting.

    This process is beyond frustrating. If the front office wants to have sort of credibility, then we need to do more than move Manny and Zack.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 24, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Spinmaster, the Orioles would like to be able to trade Danny Valencia for a prospect, but because he doesn’t play a position well, the market is limited. Because teams are carrying more pitchers than they did a few years ago, there are fewer jobs for pure hitters like Valencia. Five years ago, a NL team might have been interested in as a pinch-hitter, but those players hardly exist anymore because you can’t spend a roster spot on them.

      Valencia may be an August deal because he’d probably pass through waivers and a team could have him for September when the rosters expand.

      Peterson probably has little trade value, but with a three-man bench he’s valuable because he can play multiple positions.

      • OsfansinWV

        July 24, 2018 at 6:46 pm

        if Valencia isn’t a good enough fielder he shouldn’t be on the team. I’d say DH him but doesn’t hit righties well from what they say and we already have a DH who can’t play the field. I’m sure there’s a NL team that could use a late inning PH.

  15. Churchton

    July 24, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Why not.

  16. TheMadStork83

    July 24, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Gausman or Schoop. Flood the minors up with young talent, and change the philosophy of this organization. I would also DFA Davis and Trumbo, ASAP. The Red Sox did this with Pablo last season and they’re benefiting from it.

    This team also ranks in the bottom of batting avaerage, OBP, runs and slugging %. It’s time to blow up this team and go out and build around those key four factors in the lineup. I’m not a fan of home runs. Only 3 teams since 1980 have lead the league in HR’s and won the World Series.

  17. O's 66

    July 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Keep all 3 of them especially Schoop.

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