Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Kevin Gausman and Mychal Givens
As the Pittsburgh Pirates look to reward the team on the field that put themselves into a playoff contention, more rumors have come around regarding the Pirates and filling some spots in the bullpen and starting rotation.
After Jason Rollison of Bucs Dugout reported the Pittsburgh Pirates connection to Kevin Gausman, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic connected them to reliever Mychal Givens as well. Stephen Nesbitt of the Post Gazette confirmed the two:
Gausman, a former first-round pick in 2012, has a career 4.22 ERA and 4.16 FIP. This season he has a 4.43 ERA and 4.58 FIP, putting him well behind the crow hopping from behind the mound on final warm-up pitch LSU Tiger. That version of Gausman is exciting, this version not so much. The 27-year-old right-hander is down to a 19.5 percent strikeout rate, though he does have a 46.9 percent groundball rate, perhaps trading the swing and miss for the groundball.
And while this might seem like a Gerrit Cole situation, change of scenery and different pitch mix, Gausman has decreased his fastball and increased his slider and split, all the while losing velocity on his pitches. Cole, on the other hand, the change was obvious, using his above-average secondaries more to prosper. Gausman is arbitration eligible in both 2019 and 2020 before he becomes a free agent.
Givens is a relief pitcher who has seen his strikeout rate go from 30.7 percent in 2016 to 25.3 percent this year, similar to Michael Feliz. That’s caused his ERA to balloon up to 4.78, but his FIP of 2.99 is encouraging.
The problem for Givens is his over alliance to the fastball, a pitch he throws 77.5 percent of the time when he was going good in 2016 it was used 63.6 percent with the slider at 30.1 percent.
For the return, Byron Kerr has mentioned Ke’Bryan Hayes and Oneil Cruz as guys the Orioles could be targeting:
Hayes ranks second on the recent MLB Pipeline list and Cruz fifth. Given that the Orioles are focusing on the infield, prospects such as Kevin Newman (eighth), Kevin Kramer (ninth), or Cole Tucker (sixth) could also be of interest.
As the Pirates look to add players for this year and next, Gausman (through 2020) and Givens (through 2021) fit that bill. The Pirates rarely if ever give up top prospects (Hayes, Cruz) but they also rarely acquire multi-year pitchers. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Will be interesting where they go.
UPDATE 3:40 PM: Jon Heyman tweets that the Bucs are not as interested in Kevin Gausman as originally stated.
*Numbers from Fangraphs