Kevin Gausman made one of the biggest early moves for the San Francisco Giants in the 2021 offseason for them, by accepting the Giants’ Qualifying Offer for 2021.

The move means that Gausman will be coming back to San Francisco for 2021, and there is the possibility the Giants are working on a multi-year deal that may extend him, as has been rumored.

With San Francisco in 2020, Gausman had a 3.62 ERA in 12 appearances, 10 of which were starts.  He collected 79 strikeouts and walked just 16 in 59.2 innings.  It was a breakout season for Gausman, who had a 5.72 ERA in 2019 with the Reds and Braves, and who has a career 4.26 ERA.

The Qualifying Offer is a one-year deal for $18.9 million.  A Qualifying Offer is when a team offers the mean salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players, and if a player does not accept it and signs with another team, his former team would get a draft pick in compensation.  By accepting the offer, the Giants will not be able to offer him a Qualifying Offer for 2022.

Gausman was considered one of the top pitchers in free agency this offseason, alongside Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman, who both also received Qualifying Offers.  Stroman also accepted the offer he got from the New York Mets.  Gausman reportedly had received multiple multi-year offers from other teams.

Gausman, 29, made some adjustments in his one year deal with the Giants.  He became more unhittable, raising his strikeout rate and posting his lowest batting average allowed of his career at .221, after a combined .282 in 2019.

The pitcher was very emphatic about liking San Francisco, as he said during the 2020 trade deadline at the end of August.  He continued to say that as well after the signing, and specifically called out a player he didn’t get to play with in 2020: Buster Posey.

“[Buster Posey]’s a big reason I decided to sign here,” he said, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.  “Knowing he’s going to be here next year definitely adds another element to it.