According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Pittsburgh Pirates are “deeply interested” in former Washington Nationals starter Scott Olsen. Olsen was outrighted off of the Nationals’ roster earlier this month, and the left hander chose free agency.
Olsen had his best season in 2008, with a 4.20 ERA in 201.2 innings, with a 5.0 K/9 and a 3.1 BB/9. Following the season he was traded to the Nationals along with Josh Willingham in exchange for Emilio Bonifacio. Since the trade, Olsen has combined for a 5.76 ERA in 143.2 innings, with a 6.0 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9, while dealing with injuries. Olsen had shoulder surgery in 2009 to repair a torn labrum, limiting him to 62.2 innings. He returned in 2010, but missed time again with his left shoulder, this time limiting him to 81 innings.
I’m not a big fan of Olsen. His 2008 season was helped by a .266 BABIP, with his xFIP that year being 4.95. He has seen a drop in his velocity since he first came up to the majors, especially so since his shoulder injury. He currently averages around the high-80s, touching 91-92 MPH. Olsen may be turning 27 in January, but he’s not on the top of my wish list. If the Pirates were to sign an injury risk, I’d rather see them get Justin Duchscherer or Jeff Francis over Olsen.