In the end, the Giants might have done too good a job of helping Kevin Gausman reach new heights.
Nearly two years after he signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Giants, Gausman cashed in by agreeing to a five-year, $110 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, ESPN's Jeff Passan first reported, citing sources familiar with the deal.
Gausman's reported deal with Toronto means the Giants will have a huge hole in their rotation as they approach the rest of their offseason, but it is one they expected.
Gausman came to the Giants after a down 2019 season that ended with him in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. He quickly became an ace in San Francisco, and in 2021 he made his first All-Star team while finishing sixth in Cy Young Award voting. Gausman was 14-6 with a 2.81 ERA, numbers that put him at the top of the free agent class.
The Blue Jays came after Gausman last winter but he opted to accept a one-year qualifying offer with the Giants and try to get a bigger deal after the 2021 season. He did his part on the field, dominating with an upper 90s fastball and the best splitter in the game, and he priced himself out of San Francisco.
Under Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris, the Giants have preferred shorter deals for free agents, particularly pitchers. The three-year, $36 million deal that Anthony DeSclafani signed last week is the longest and most lucrative that a Giants pitcher has gotten in recent years. The Giants knew Gausman was likely to get the biggest, or one of the biggest, deals of the offseason, and they moved quickly to try and fill their rotation last week. In addition to DeSclafani, they are reportedly close to a deal to bring Alex Wood back.
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Still, losing Gausman is a huge blow. He was a mentor to Logan Webb and the two formed an imposing combination at the top of the rotation.
Webb and Wood had slightly different reactions to the news that Gausman is leaving San Francisco.
The Giants will now have to pivot to other top free agents or the trade market to try and get a partner for Webb, their new ace.