Pittsburgh Pirates Off-Season in Review Part 1
Each day, I plan on putting one Pirates signing in review. Today’s player is Scott Olsen.
Scott Olsen was the first player to sign with the team this off-season with the rumor coming forth on the first day of Winter Meetings and the contract being made official later.
Olsen’s salary for this season is $450,000 and much like the Octavio Dotel contract, the deal comes with an option for 2012. The option is worth $4 million and the buyout is $100,000. Olsen can earn up to $3 million in performance bonuses based on starts this coming season and up to $1 million more in 2012.
While the Olsen contract is cheap, his baggage is very well known. Olsen’s baggage has been well documented on Wikipedia and the problems will be revealed at the end of the entry.
Despite this baggage, Clint Hurdle is a no-nonsense manager, and even Joel Hanrahan has been quoted saying the Hurdle, “.. won’t put up with crap.”
The signing by a quick glance is a cheap one, but can get expensive if he starts too much. I am unsure what to think of the move as it was a buy low move, but Olsen’s stats resemble those of Zach Duke, so essentially he is a cheaper version of Zach Duke. The good news is that there is no Joe Kerrigan to mess up Olsen’s delivery and Searage has proven to be a better pitching coach, but I am worried that Olsen and his seemingly short temper could deliver a bad message to the young Pirates.
Zac’s Grade: C
“Olsen has had a history of disciplinary problems with the Marlins and legal issues. He was given a black eye by friend and former teammate Randy Messenger during the 2006 season. Shortly afterwards, then-manager Joe Girardi pulled Olsen by the collar and confronted him.
In a 7-6 loss to the New York Mets in July 2006, there was an incident involving former teammate Miguel Cabrera. While pitching to Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca, Lo Duca hit a hard grounder that glanced off Cabrera’s glove and rolled into left field. A run scored and Lo Duca raced to second for a double. While the ball glanced off of Cabrera’s glove, Olsen seemed to believe that Cabrera did not give his full effort to get to the ball, and as they came off the field, Olsen could be seen shouting something at Cabrera. A moment later, television cameras showed Cabrera in the crowded dugout reaching past teammates to poke his finger at Olsen as the pitcher walked past him. Olsen tried to jab back at Cabrera, who charged Olsen and tried to kick the pitcher before both players were quickly separated by teammates.
In September 2006, Olsen said he hated the Philadelphia Phillies because they dominated the Marlins. His emotions boiled over in the sixth inning of a May 2007 game versus the Phillies, when he became angry at Chase Utley for calling time just before a pitch. The next pitch was ball four, and Utley trotted to first base as Olsen angrily shouted and waved his glove at him.
On July 15, 2007, during a start against the Washington Nationals, Olsen had a confrontation with pitcher Sergio Mitre in the tunnel heading toward the team clubhouse. Olsen ripped his jersey off and tossed it in the direction of a trainer. According to a source, Mitre and other Marlins took exception to Olsen’s actions. That’s when tensions got heated. As they left the dugout area, Mitre pinned Olsen against a wall before the two were separated by teammates. Olsen then received a two-game suspension for insubordination, but was still scheduled to make his next start the following Friday against the Cincinnati Reds.
After serving his two-game suspension, and after making his scheduled July 20, 2007, start, Olsen was arrested by police in Aventura, Florida after fleeing from police following a speeding violation (he was clocked going 48 MPH in a 35 MPH zone). He fled for about a mile, at which point he stopped at his home and sat in a plastic chair in the front yard. When police arrived and tried to arrest him, he kicked at the officers who then used a taser to subdue him. Olsen failed a field sobriety test and refused a breathalyzer test. He was booked on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest with violence and fleeing and eluding a police officer.“