One of the quirks of this season is that there is not the usual waiver trading period where teams can still make deals so long as players clear waivers. Before this season, as long as a player cleared waivers first, teams could still trade them after the July 31st trade deadline.
However, that waiver trade period was removed this season so when a player was placed on waivers was claimed, teams had to either just let that player go without any compensation or pull the player back off of waivers. Well, it looks like the Braves did put at least one player on waivers and are just going to let him go.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman is headed to the Cincinnati Reds, sources tell ESPN. He was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. The 28-year-old has one more season remaining until he hits free agency following 2020 though could be a non-tender candidate this winter.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 5, 2019
To say that the Braves just letting Gausman go is a surprise is a bit of an understatement. While Gausman has absolutely not been good this season (6.19 ERA and -1.3 rWAR in 16 starts), as recently as right after his most recent start, manager Brian Snitker said that the plan was for him to make his next scheduled start against the Twins. However, given that the Braves did not pull him back off of waivers...that is obviously changing. Mike Foltynewicz and Bryse Wilson seem like the most likely candidates to take his spot in the rotation although there is no word yet as to what the team’s exact plans are.
As for the Braves motivations for doing this, it seems clear that the team did not feel like he could provide value even as a reliever to justify keeping him on the roster at all. One function of the waiver claim is that it does get Gausman’s money off of the Braves’ books which, given how much salary the Braves took on at the trade deadline, is a non-zero consideration.
Update - The Braves have confirmed that Gausman was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cincinnati Reds claimed RHP Kevin Gausman off waivers today.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 5, 2019