Scott Olsen has completed three rehab starts and by all accounts he's ready to rejoin the Nationals rotation.
Here's the problem. He's not as good as the guys who have replaced him. His 5.50 fielding independent ERA is worse than Shairon Martis (5.25), John Lannan (5.09), Craig Stammen (4.28), Ross Detwiler (3.94), and Jordan Zimmermann (3.56).
In his rehab starts he hasn't been any better. In 12.6 innings with Syracuse, he's allowed 19 hits and 6 walks against just 9 strikeouts. His 5.25 fielding independent ERA in AAA translates to a major league-equivalent of 7.08, according to Minor League Splits.
In fact, if the team wants to promote someone from AAA, Olsen isn't even the best pitcher in Syracuse. Collin Balester's fielding independent ERA is 3.68. J.D. Martin's is a shiny 2.66. Marco Estrada, 3.73.
Now, I'm somewhat torn on this issue. As much as I don't like Olsen, I would like to see some of these young arms, especially Detwiler, get work outside the glare of MLB. He's had some success, and this would be an easy time to ease him back down without affecting his confidence.
Rizzo's plans to shut down Zimmermann, Martis and Detwiler before the end of the season means that we'll need most of those Syracuse arms for the last month or so of the season.
And there have been more reports that Olsen's velocity is back (although we hear this every month, so I'll believe it when I see it).
Still, it just seems like before the team just hands Olsen his old job back, he should have to show he can pitch at least as well as the guys they're farming out to make room.