Giants Analysis

Now in Toronto, Gausman still rooting for good friend Webb

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TORONTO -- At what felt like one of the low points of his big league career, Logan Webb sat in Kevin Gausman's hotel room high atop the Philadelphia skyline and listened as his friend and teammate told him that all he was missing was confidence.

Gausman had just watched Webb struggle through his third start of the 2021 season, and as Webb recalls, he essentially told the right-hander to "get your head out of your ass." Gausman told him he was a good pitcher, and he implored him to have more fun and ditch the pissed-off look he often had on the mound.

Two seasons later, Webb is the face of the franchise in San Francisco and Gausman is in Toronto, but the messages never stopped. It's just that now they're going both ways.

"We text all the time," Webb said earlier this week, smiling. "I usually just tell him his stuff is nasssty."

Gausman added that the messages are dominated by fire emojis.

"We'll send those, or some 'sick' faces 'cause we think we're nasty," he said.

It's hard to argue with the results, even after Webb gave up a season-high five runs on Wednesday night. He still went five innings, extending his MLB lead in the category. Gausman is seventh in the Majors in innings and has a 3.01 ERA. He leads the Majors in fWAR and the American League in strikeouts, while Webb is 18th overall in fWAR and first in groundball rate.

The two did not square off in this series, but there's a chance they do in the All-Star Game in Seattle next month. For Gausman, that would simply be an outcome he saw coming, at least for his friend.

"It's been really fun to watch him just mature, not only as a pitcher but as a man, too," he said. "I was at his wedding and was able to be a part of that special moment. He's a guy that I always rooted for from day one because he has a way about him that's infectious. If you're his teammate, you like him. He has such a competitive nature that when he's out there, you feel pretty confident that he's going to go out there and get the job done."

The same can be said of Gausman, who jogged over to the visiting dugout before Wednesday's game and spent some time chatting with Brandon Crawford, Andrew Bailey and many others. As he gave an interview about Webb, Gausman apologized and stepped onto the field for a minute because Giants director of hitting Dustin Lind was running over to say hello.

Gausman was a popular Giant, which made it all the more maddening to some of his teammates when the Giants didn't make a push to bring him back after he hit free agency. Their longest deal for a free-agent starting pitcher under this front office has been for three years, and Gausman ended up signing for five and $110 million in Toronto.

Most long-term contracts for pitchers hurt at some point, but Gausman has proven to be a steal, and in an ironic way, he is exactly what the Giants could be looking for ahead of the trade deadline. In another twist, Webb ended up signing a five-year, $90 million extension that wasn't far from what it likely would have taken to keep Gausman in San Francisco.

Gausman said this week that it's all water under the bridge, and there was only elation when he heard that Webb had finally gotten his own deal.

"I texted him right away," Gausman said. "I was like, 'Man, I'm so happy for you. You're going to be close to your family.' It's great what he's done off the field to kind of create an existing relationship that's going to go on even when he's done playing there. He's put a lot back into the community."

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Gausman might be 2,600 miles away now, but he still follows Webb's progress, and his message hasn't changed. He said Webb is "just scratching the surface of how good he can be." He still feels the same way he did during that late-night pep talk in 2021.

"Hopefully when I'm old and at home he'll still be doing this, and he probably will be," Gausman said. "I had him sign a jersey for me in '21 after the season, because I said it then and I'll say it again: I think he's going to win multiple Cy Youngs."

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