Saturday, May 16, 2009

Addition by Subtraction: Olsen to the DL

Word from Nationals Journal is that Scott Olsen is having an MRI and might be is headed to the disabled list. If that's true, the net outcome is a move that should happen anyway. Scott Olsen simply is not a major league-caliber starting pitcher.

Olsen after today's 8-5 loss to the Phillies now has a 7.24 ERA. His strikeout rate is down to 14.6%, well below the 21.8% he had in 2006, his one and only season as an effective major leaguer. His fastball today topped out at 86, down from an 87.8 mph average in 2008 and 90.9 in 2006. He can no longer get major league hitters out with his stuff.

Maybe the MRI will finally reveal what's wrong with him, since his velocity has been in steep decline for a couple years now. If so, it probably means the team has wasted a couple million and three C+ type prospects on a washed up 25-year-old.

The question of course is what do you do now. We know Rizzo won't go to Jason Bergmann because he hates flyball pitchers, but as long as he's at Syracuse you can't say there aren't options. J.D. Martin I think is an interesting case we picked up from Cleveland last off season who I wrote about as a dark horse going into spring training. He has a 2.88 ERA and a wicked 22:2 K:BB ratio in 25 innings. Craig Stammen is turning heads with his 1.80 ERA in 40 innings for Syracuse, but with only 14 Ks in 40 innings pitched you have to wonder whether he has the stuff for the next level. Then there's ol' Collin Balester, who was looking like he was coming around until a 7-run, 3-inning performance Tuesday. Marco Estrada's another option, and he's got the groundball rates Rizzo likes.

And then there's the matter of the trades that still haven't happened. With the glut of 1B/corner OF types, Rizzo I think has to find a way to get something back. It was reported by Jayson Stark before the season that the Rays dangled Jason Hammel for Josh Willingham. Hammel since was flipped to Colorado
, and there's no reason the Rockies would be interested in Hammer, but if this is a gauge of Willingham's trade value, it seems like Rizzo should be able to turn him into something passable.

(Interestingly, that same Stark column reported that the Angels had inquired about none other than Scott Olsen, tossing around names like Dustin Moseley, Shane Loux and Jason Bulger.)

And of course a good debate can be had about which pitcher is worse, Olsen or Cabrera. This post is not intended to pick a side in that debate. Neither should be in the big leagues as far as I'm concerned.

1 comment:

Sean Hogan said...

I'm a big fan of Martin too (was #4 on my list of minor league FA's this offseason), but I have to wonder if Detwiler's start is just going to be a one time thing with him being sent back down afterwards. If that's the case, there's no reason to add Martin to the 40-man if he's not going to stick around for long.