Scott Olsen Rumors

Minor Moves: Kevin Russo, Scott Olsen

Here are Sunday's minor moves…

  • The Tigers have signed Kevin Russo to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The 28-year-old utility man hit .284/.358/.351 with 15 steals in 456 Triple-A plate appearances while playing second, third, and all three outfield spots. Russo made a brief cameo with the 2010 Yankees.
  • The Rangers have signed Scott Olsen according to the transactions page. The 28-year-old left-hander appeared in just three minor league games with the White Sox last year, allowing two runs in five innings. He missed most of 2011 with shoulder problems and hasn't appeared in the big leagues since 2010 with the Nationals.

Minor Moves: MacDougal, Olsen

The latest minor moves from around MLB…

  • The Cubs released right-hander Mike MacDougal, Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweets. The Cubs signed MacDougal to a minor league deal in May after the Dodgers released him. The 35-year-old, who signed a one-year, $1MM deal before the season, posted a 7.85 ERA with more walks than strikeouts in 19 appearances for the Cubs' top affiliate.
  • The White Sox released left-hander Scott Olsen, Eddy tweets. The White Sox signed the 28-year-old to a minor league deal in January. Olsen, who has battled shoulder injuries in recent years, appeared in just three minor league games for the White Sox before being released.

White Sox Sign Scott Olsen

The White Sox signed left-hander Scott Olsen to a minor league contract,'s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The deal includes a 2013 option on Olsen, a Sosnick/Cobbe client.

Olsen, 28, signed with the Pirates last offseason, but he had shoulder problems and Pittsburgh released him in May. He was a serviceable starter for the Marlins from 2006-08, when he posted a 4.65 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 559 innings. However, he struggled in 2009-10 as a member of the Nationals and hasn't had success in the Major Leagues since.

Quick Hits: Colvin, Olsen, Lackey, Astros

On this date 15 years ago, Sammy Sosa became the first Cub to homer twice in one inning. Here's the latest from around the league, including a note on a less productive Cubs bat…

  • The Cubs optioned Tyler Colvin to the minors after today's game and GM Jim Hendry told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he wants the outfielder to get regular playing time in Triple-A. As Hendry says, MLB teams are in the "production business."
  • Scott Olsen made about $108K with the Pirates before they released him, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
  • John Lackey's DL stint probably won't affect Boston's 2015 option for the right-hander, according to Rob Bradford of Though the option will be worth the MLB minimum if Lackey misses extended time because of a right elbow injury that existed before he signed with the Red Sox, he'd have to miss the rest of the season for the option to be affected, according to Bradford.
  • Brian McTaggart of looks back at Drayton McLane's 19 years of ownership in Houston. McLane has agreed to sell the Astros to Jim Crane; for details on the sale and how it could impact the franchise, click here.

Pirates Release Scott Olsen

The Pirates have released Scott Olsen according to Colin Dunlap of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). He has not pitched this year due to a hamstring injury.

Olsen, 27, signed a one-year worth just $500K this winter, though he could have earned another $3MM through incentives. GM Neal Huntington told Dunlap: "We believed we were not going to have a good opportunity for Scott and made this move to allow him to find a better situation."

Quick Hits: Phillips, Olsen, Rangers, Greinke

The great Mickey Mantle announced his retirement on this day in 1969.  The Mick was coming off his worst of his 18 Major League seasons, a .237/.385/.398 performance in 1968.  While a .782 OPS would be a pretty decent performance for most mortals, it was well behind Mantle's .977 career OPS.  Mantle retired with 536 home runs, seven World Series rings and legendary status with both the Yankees and the sport as a whole.

Some news items…

  • Brandon Phillips wants to play for the Reds beyond his current contract, and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculates how much it might cost to keep Phillips in Cincinnati.  The club holds a $12MM team option on Phillips for 2012, and Fay thinks Phillips would have to accept less tham $12MM per season in a new deal.  Fay guesses Phillips will ask for a Dan Uggla-esque contract, while the Reds will try to sign him to a deal similar to Juan Uribe's pact with the Dodgers.  If I had to guess, I'd say the Reds' financial situation might make them hard-pressed to pick up Phillips' 2012 option, let alone give him another expensive, multiyear deal.  Another year of pennant contention and more fans in the Great American Ballpark would certainly change things, of course.
  • It came as news to Scott Olsen that Pirates GM Neal Huntington listed him as as a bullpen candidate if he doesn't make the rotation, reports Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy,” Olsen said. “They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it.”  Olsen's contract with Pittsburgh includes $3MM in incentives based on the number of starts that Olsen makes, so obviously Olsen has a stated interest in staying out of the bullpen.
  • The Rangers' payroll for 2011 will be almost 70% higher than it was in 2010, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
  • Zack Greinke says he "kind of had to play the bad guy" by requesting a trade from the Royals, reports Danny Knobler of  "The way things were in Kansas City, if I hadn't done that, the fans would have been outraged if I was traded," Greinke said.  "The fans — I don't know why, but they really liked me."
  • Keith Law of lists six prospects who might be "this year's Mike Trout" and have a breakout minor league campaign.
  • One of Law's breakout candidates is Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos, a supplemental first-round pick (44th overall) for Detroit in 2010.  John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press talked to the 18-year-old about playing alongside his childhood hero, Miguel Cabrera.
  • The Cubs have already paid back the $3MM they owed Ryan Dempster in contract deferral payments, reports's Bruce Levine.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.

Contract Details: Bruce, Lee, Jenks, Pirates, Gomez

Here are some recent updates on contracts from around the majors:

Pirates Sign Scott Olsen

The Pirates signed lefty Scott Olsen, the team announced.  Olsen will earn about $500K with a chance to make another $3MM in incentives based on starts.  The deal includes a $4MM club option for 2012.  Olsen is represented by Sosnick Cobbe Sports.

Olsen, 27 in January, posted a 5.56 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, and 46.5% groundball rate in 81 innings for the Nationals this year.  He had labrum surgery in July of '09, and shoulder soreness lingered into the 2010 season.  He pitched well through his first seven starts, with a 3.15 ERA in those 40 innings.  ESPN's Keith Law wrote, "To have value to the Pirates he'll need to locate his fastball better and improve his barely-average changeup." 

Olsen joins Kevin Correia as the new members of Pittsburgh's rotation, which lost Zach Duke to a trade and could see Paul Maholm depart as well.  Ross Ohlendorf and James McDonald figure to take a couple of spots.'s Jenifer Langosch first reported on Monday that a deal was close and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported the agreement.

Pirates Close To Deal With Scott Olsen

The Pirates reached a tentative agreement with lefty Scott Olsen on a one-year, incentive-laden deal, reports's Jenifer Langosch.  Olsen's agent Matt Sosnick tells MLBTR "nothing is done yet."  Langosch says the deal will become official if Olsen passes a physical later this week.  He'll have a base salary in the $1MM range, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Olsen, 27 in January, posted a 5.56 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, and 46.5% groundball rate this year in 81 innings for the Nationals.  Olsen had labrum surgery in July of '09 and was sidelined for much of this season with soreness.

Pirates Interested In Scott Olsen

The Pirates are "deeply interested" in former Nationals left-hander Scott Olsen, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The Bucs are known to be looking for pitching this winter, and they have a particular need for left-handed starting help after the club designated Zach Duke for assignment last week.

Olsen posted a 5.56 ERA and a 1.96 K/BB ratio in 17 games (15 of them starts) for Washington last season.  He spent some time on the DL due to continued soreness in his throwing shoulder and had his 2009 season cut short due to labrum surgery on that same shoulder.  Health issues aside, Olsen has shown only flashes of consistency in his six-year career (a lifetime 4.85 ERA), but he has value as a low-risk/high-upside signing.  Matt Sosnick, Olsen's agent, tells Kovacevic that Pittsburgh is "one of several teams that have expressed interest in Scott."