Pirates Reach Deal With Scott Olsen

Welcome to Degeneration Hurdle. It's a new generation in Pirates baseball. We are just trying to figure it all out.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made it official in signing left hander Scott Olsen.   Good luck Ray Searage, we all have challenges in life, Olsen is yours.  The lefty has two pitches that might be considered average and unless some changes are made, the NL Central should enjoy facing him.

Obviously Clint Hurdle was looking for a challenge when he came to Pittsburgh to provide the leadership needed for an epic turnaround.  I wonder how he feels about Olsen today?   Ray Searage has all kinds of time to work Olsen back into form since many pitchers in the Pirates rotation seem ready for a bounceback right?

In the past, the Pirates have given an opportunity to players other organizations have given up on like Lastings Milledge and it has always worked out, right?  Scott Olsen could be the ‘high upside’ poster child for the Pirates.

Olsen has made headlines that make Milledge’s songs look like an introduction tune for a wanna be MMA fighter at your local Jaffa Mosque. Andrew Lambo’s hillbilly surfer recreational drug use pales in comparision to Olsen’s ‘tase me ‘bro’ legend around the water coolers of the Aventura, Florida Police Department.

Olsen is a bonafide bad ass. We have proof.   (MattitudeMD called the Olsen signing Degeneration Hurdles Badd Ass Bill Gunn.)

But only four years ago, the six-foot four lefty finished in the top 10 of the Rookie of the Year voting. He gave up just 160 hits and posted a 4.04 ERA. He relied on his heater, worked in a filthy slider and a changeup to strikeout 166 batters in 180 innings with a 70.5LOB% and a 4.33FIP.

In 2007, he relied less on his fastball, perhaps due to an injury and his numbers tanked. From the stories about Olsen, maybe his arm hurt so bad, he simply chose to be the star of a country music song and leaned on the sauce to ease the pain? He threw 201 innings in 2008, but those injuries played havoc with his heat and his strikeouts reduced as a result. For some reason, the Nats traded for him even though in two years, he went from a swing and miss pitcher to a pitch-to-contact guy thanks to losing two plus mph in velocity. I don’t know about you, but I have seen my fair share of PTC pitchers in black and gold recently.

He missed most of 2009 with a torn labrum. We have to presume that he played with some pain and it had an impact on his numbers from ’08.

A little over six months ago, he was placed on the DL by the Washington Nationals again with soreness in his pitching shoulder. At the time Olsen was 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA in eight starts. He would have been a star in the Pirates rotation. He never returned to form after he came off the DL. In the seven starts he made before being sent to the bullpen, he posted negative WPA in each.

So the bottom line would be this, the Pirates want a pitcher like Olsen because he fits the Pirates short term plans perfectly. Olsen is cheap. Olsen has had some past success. He is tall and of course he throws with a downward plane.

In a perfect world, the Pirates could use Olsen as a possible band-aid while Morton, Ohlendorf, Hart, Veal, Morris, Owens, Wilson, Lincoln, Locke, or fill-in-the-blank can be ready or brought up at mid-season. Olsen also fits the bad ass turned good soldier mold. In a big way.

And if you look closely at this piece by Adam Kilgore, Olsen was pissed at the end of the Nationals season when he was sent to the bullpen and missed out on his $100K per start.

Maybe the Bucs could use a few hurlers that get pissed off. Maybe a pitcher that wants to succeed so badly is just what the Pirates need. Olsen wants to win again. He wants to shut up assholes like me who keep digging up his past epic headlines. Getting a pitcher that is motivated to finally achieve his dream of being the leader of a pitching staff is certainly an interesting thought. But would you bet a million bucks on Olsen being the leader of a major league staff?

Ponder this Pirates fans….where else in MLB could he get a shot at redeeming his value? Where else can he re-establish his goals? For the once can’t miss prospect, time is quickly running out.

The thing the Pirates need Olsen to do is eat some innings. They don’t need Olsen to be a leader. Just a pitcher who can take the ball every five days and provide a few quality starts. Then go back to smoking cigarettes and keeping to himself until it’s his time to take the ball again. 

It’s a risky proposition, but could Olsen really be worse than Zach Duke? (Some stats say that he is)  He certainly is cheaper. Bob likes cheap. But surely, the Pirates big offseason signing won’t be Scott Olsen?

Remember, before he threw four no hit innings against the New York Mets in a relief role, he had an 8.72 ERA in seven starts since coming off the DL. Sorry. That’s that asshole in me again.

We all know how this town feels about Pirates that smoke. Dave Parker was awesome.  Jim Leyland was legendary. Who was the last Pirates smoker? Oh yeh, nevermind.

Also, Olsen was hit with a taser and afterward, Olsen wanted his face tattoed on his teammates ass.

And Olsen can burn a hole through the lens of a police mug shot camera all night long. So, weclome to Pittsburgh!

Scott Olsen in this Aventura Florida Police Department photograph.

Tags: Pirates Blog Pittsburgh Pirates Scott Olsen

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