Kevin Gausman accepts San Francisco Giants' $18.9M qualifying offer

Right-hander Kevin Gausman accepted the San Francisco Giants' $18.9 million qualifying offer Wednesday and will return to the team in 2021.

Gausman, 29, was 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA during the pandemic-shortened season for the Giants as he returned to his familiar role as a starting pitcher.

He had a sterling 4.9 strikeouts-to-walks ratio (79-16) in 2020 and his average fastball velocity was up by 1.2 mph to 95.1 mph, but Gausman, who rarely throws a breaking ball, threw his straight fastball less often. He instead spotted his splitter lower in the zone and his four-seamer higher, and Gausman had better results. The change could be attributed to what he learned during 14 relief appearances with the Cincinnati Reds to close the 2019 season, after he was waived by the Atlanta Braves.

Gausman worked through a foot injury early in the 2019 season and was just 3-7 with a 6.19 ERA in 16 starts before he was waived by the Braves, who acquired him at the 2018 trade deadline from the Baltimore Orioles.

In eight major league seasons, Gausman is 50-66 with a 4.26 ERA, 934 strikeouts and 296 walks in 203 appearances (164 starts) for the Giants, Reds, Braves and Orioles, for whom he played his first five-plus seasons.