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The Giants are planning to issue an $18.9MM qualifying offer to right-hander Kevin Gausman, reports Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic (Twitter link). Team and player remain in contact regarding a potential multi-year deal, Baggarly adds, making the move unsurprising. The team has officially announced the decision.

Gausman looked like a solid rebound candidate when San Francisco inked him to a buy-low, one-year contract last offseason. That turned out to be the case. In his first season in the Bay Area, Gausman tossed 59.2 innings of 3.62 ERA/3.09 FIP ball. He put up a career-best 32.2% strikeout rate on the back of an outstanding 15.2% swinging strike rate. Between his swing-and-miss stuff, youth (30 in January) and mid-90’s velocity, Gausman now looks like one of the best pitchers on the upcoming free agent market.

A multi-year deal might be in the cards. But Gausman’s only a year removed from being non-tendered by the Reds in a much more favorable economic situation. It’s possible he and his representatives will take that lofty single-year salary, then, although they’ll have ten days to weigh the market before making a decision. Gausman could also choose to accept the qualifying offer and then negotiate a multi-year deal with the Giants, as José Abreu and the White Sox did last offseason.

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