Many of you on Twitter last night and this morning refuse to accept the move to send Kevin Gausman to Triple-A. That’s your prerogative. But here is the simple reasoning why Gausman was sent to Norfolk last night after making three strong starts (3-0, 0.94 ERA).
Gausman’s 2014 option has already been used. So he can be moved up and down with no consequences, roster-wise. Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris haven’t had their option used in 2014 (and all are veterans who have been pitching fairly well, too). Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman can’t be optioned without consequences (like, for instance, eating Jimenez’s $50 million contract. That’s not going to happen).
Because the Orioles have a split doubleheader Friday, they can call up a 26th man, which will be Gausman, who will pitch in one of those two games against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Gausman was initially scheduled to start Wednesday versus the Chicago White Sox. With a day off Thursday, Gausman is essentially having his start pushed back one game. And he is getting a better assignment: The Rays, who have scored the least amount of runs in the American League, instead of the White Sox, who have scored the fifth-most in the league.
Normally players who are sent down can’t come back up for 10 days -- and I think that’s what bothers a lot of fans. But that isn’t the case here.
Because he’ll be the 26th man, he can be called up within the 10-day period. And because the clock doesn’t reset again for a 26th man, Gausman will be sent back down Saturday and stay down for just four more days before being eligible to return.
So, in essence, he’ll be able to make his next start on turn after Friday.
Bottom line is Gausman is not being skipped in the rotation. He is having one start pushed back just one game and he gets a better opponent.
Now, many of you have talked about what it might do to Gausman mentally, and I see some merit there. Yes, he feels like he belongs and then he won’t physically be with the team for what will amount to 10 days. I’m sure that’s not easy.
But Gausman and I had a fairly long talk last week about the Orioles and their shuttle system. If you are in this organization and have options, you know the deal. They are trying to keep their bullpen healthy -- and have done a nice job of that over the recent years -- and this is part of it.
Gausman said last week that the first time he got sent down he was upset/angry, but he gets it now. Does he want to stay with the team? Sure. Of course.
But does he get the procedural aspect of this, too? Yes.
He says it doesn’t affect him; that he uses all of this as motivation. He said he has used all obstacles as potential motivation ever since he had to prove himself as a cold-weather kid from Colorado in the SEC while he attended LSU.
Look, I’m sure he’s frustrated some inside. But he knows he’ll be back Friday and, most likely, again roughly five days later.
Take the emotion out, and it really isn’t a big deal.
Brach is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 games with the Orioles this year and 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 games with Triple-A Norfolk.
The bullpen had just six members. And after Ubaldo Jimenez went just 5 2/3 innings Friday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter wanted to get another pitcher into the bullpen.