The Pittsburgh Pirates have released left handed pitcher Scott Olsen, according to Colin Dunlap. The move isn’t really a surprise, as Olsen has been on the 60-day disabled list, and doesn’t really have a spot on the team when he returns.
Olsen was signed on December 6th, the same day as Kevin Correia, to a one year, $450,000 deal. The deal included an option for $4 M in 2012, with a $100,000 buyout. I wasn’t a fan of the move at the time, as Olsen had a history of attitude problems, off the field personal issues, and a bit of an ego. We got a glimpse of that ego during Spring Training, when Olsen mentioned that he was brought in to start, and if the team wanted to use him as a reliever, there would have to be a conversation. That might seem innocent enough, expect Olsen has a history of refusing bullpen assignments, and insisting on starting roles. Add to all of this the fact that Olsen hasn’t really been that good in the starting role, and the signing made little sense for a team that needed starters at the time.
In a purely speculation, reading between the lines theory, it seems that Olsen could have made the majors out of Spring Training had he been willing to accept a bullpen assignment. We know he’s refused that in the past, and it seemed like he refused it this year. He went on the disabled list shortly after it was announced that he was out as a rotation candidate, even though he was pitching, and obviously capable of going one inning. My theory is that he wanted to be a starter, which explains the DL trip at the start of the year, and with the current rotation doing so well, he wasn’t going to get a shot here, which explains the release.
The whole situation with Olsen doesn’t make much sense. The Pirates rotation looks decent now, but in the off-season it looked horrible. The fact that Olsen could only land a job with one of the worst rotations in the league, and only received $550,000 guaranteed, suggests that he probably shouldn’t be so committed to the “I’m a starter” stance. If he wants to continue saying “I’m a professional baseball player”, he might want to consider trying his career in the bullpen, as it doesn’t seem like he’s getting many chances to start in the majors these days.
The 40-man roster is updated with the move. Since Olsen was on the 60-day DL, he wasn’t taking up a spot on the 40-man, which means the current 40-man still sits at 39 players.