Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scott Olsen "Bullpen? Who, Me?"

Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette was tossing together the obligatory story about lefties to populate the bullpen in light of Joe Beimel's sore elbow, and asked LHP Scott Olsen about Neal Huntington saying Olsen was a possibility to fill that role.

"I don't know anything about the bullpen, I'm a starter," Olsen said. "They didn't bring me in here to be a bullpen guy... They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven't had one about it."

Well, we can kinda see Olsen's point. He's battling for the fifth starter spot on a barely above minimum wage MLB contract ($550K with a boatload of bonuses based on starting games according to Cot's Baseball Contracts) and hasn't thrown off of a mound yet this spring because of a sore hammy. That'd be enough to curdle my coffee, too. Then to be shuffled to the pen, yet. Oh, the humanity!

So maybe it's time for Huntington to have that sit-down with Olsen. Maybe mention that the Bucs took a flyer on him, baggage and past performance aside, and let him know that starting, a bullpen gig, or trip to Indy depends on his arm and not his contract. Or maybe a DFA will deliver the same message.

Hey, we'd guess that Olsen just has some injury frustrations that boiled over. He wouldn't be the first player to speak out before involving his brain in the conversation. A pro does have pride, and his may have been dented a bit. But if it's not, the last thing a young team needs is an attitude from a guy looking to throw from the five-hole in the rotation.


WilliamJPellas said...

Well, Olsen's resume as a starter does have two pretty strong seasons on it. While I agree that Beimel's injury means Olsen is about the only logical in house choice left besides, perhaps, Burres, the real culprit here is Huntington. You'll recall we talked several times about Huntington's offseason miscalculation of the free agent market, particularly for relievers. Looks like all of Opie's chickens have come home to roost yet again.

Ron Ieraci said...

Will, I'm still not ready to fault Huntington for this year;s reliever market; I've never seen so many multi-year deals for non closers. Still, as you say, it may become a reality he'll have to learn to cope with.

As far as Olsen, I'd like to see him return to the performance of his early days; that would be a big plus for the staff. I'd also like to see a little professionalism out of him, too, even if it was just frustration speaking.