Colin Dunlap shared the following quote from left handed pitcher Scott Olsen, who the Pittsburgh Pirates signed this off-season:
“They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy,” Scott Olsen told the Post-Gazette. “They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it.”
This kind of comment raises some questions about how Olsen could handle a bullpen assignment if he loses the fifth starter role to Charlie Morton. Olsen has complained in the past when placed in a bullpen role, so the comments he made aren’t surprising. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him react negatively if Morton wins the fifth starter spot to open the season. Olsen is currently rehabbing from a hamstring strain, which has set him back behind Morton for the battle for the final spot in the rotation.
If Olsen does get placed in the bullpen, he doesn’t have much room to complain. He is coming off a year where he put up a 5.56 ERA in 81 innings. The year before he had a 6.03 ERA in 62.2 innings. He had a strong 2008 season, where he posted a 4.20 ERA in 201.2 innings, although that was aided by a lucky .258 BABIP. Since then he’s been inefficient and injury prone, which doesn’t guarantee him anything. The fact that he only got $550 K guaranteed this off-season also shows that he shouldn’t be expecting anything.
Olsen has had a history of attitude problems in the past, ranging from complaints about his role, a DUI, and multiple fights with teammates. I wasn’t a fan of his signing, as his attitude is not what you want in a young clubhouse like the Pirates have. The Pirates were targeting multiple bounce back candidates, and I felt that Jeff Francis, Brandon Webb, or Justin Duchscherer would have been a better option than Olsen. Olsen has $2.95 M in potential performance bonuses this year, all based on starts, and starting at eight games started. For that reason I can’t see him accepting a bullpen role without a complaint. You have to wonder if Olsen will even be on the team at the start of the season.