The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed left handed pitcher Garrett Olson from the Seattle Mariners today. Olsen should compete for a left handed bullpen spot. Joe Beimel and Scott Olsen have both been injured at times this Spring, and both have struggled in their return. They are the only options for the Pirates in terms of left handed relievers, although Scott Olsen is technically competing for a starting role.
Garrett Olson has a career 6.20 ERA in 283 innings in the majors, with most of those innings coming as a starter. He moved to the bullpen in 2009, and pitched 37.2 innings out of Seattle’s pen in 2010, with a 4.54 ERA, a 7.4 K/9, and a 3.6 BB/9 ratio. In his career, Olson has a .780 OPS vs left handers, and an .876 OPS vs right handers. In his career as a reliever, he has a 4.27 ERA in 65.1 innings, with a 50:26 K/BB ratio, compared to a 6.78 ERA in 217.2 innings as a starter, along with a 139:113 K/BB ratio.
Olson is a decent arm to have, and he did show some improvements against left handers in 2010, with a .699 OPS, compared to an .829 OPS against right handers. Overall he’s just a middle reliever, and would likely be the number two left hander in the bullpen if he makes the team. The fact that the Pirates have two left handed pitchers competing for a bullpen role, one named Olsen, and the other named Olson, probably won’t get confusing at all.
Kevin Hart has been placed on the 60-day disabled list, which clears a spot for Olson on the 40-man roster, and also allows the Pirates to retain Hart, who is out of options and coming off an injury shortened 2010 season.