Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

After one day away, Olsen rejoins Nats

Just one day after becoming a free agent, pitcher Scott Olsen re-signed with his old team, the first step in reestablishing himself as a healthy innings-eating starter and regaining his role as a central figure in the Washington Nationals' future.

Olsen rejoined the Nationals on Sunday with a one-year contract worth $1 million, which could swell to just less than $4 million with incentives, a source familiar with the deal said.

The Nationals had non-tendered Olsen on Saturday, cutting ties with the arbitration-eligible left-hander who is attempting to come back from shoulder surgery.

In July, after making 11 starts with Washington (2-4, 6.03 ERA), Olsen underwent season-ending surgery on his labrum. He is now fully rehabilitated, and the team expects him to be ready for spring training. But General Manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged earlier this weekend that such injuries make it difficult to predict future performance. Thus, Olsen will resume his career in Washington with a new contract -- which will increase only if he can succeed.

After spending the first three full seasons of his career with the Florida Marlins, Olsen was traded last November to Washington along with outfielder Josh Willingham. Though he entered the season as the ballclub's No. 2 starter, Olsen struggled to fulfill his promise. His fastball showed diminished velocity -- it hovered in the upper-80s, several miles per hour slower than it did earlier in his career -- and opponents had a .320 batting average against him.

In 2009, Olsen earned $2.8 million. Had the Nationals tendered him a contract earlier this weekend, he would have been in line for a similar salary in 2010.

The new contract suggests that Washington retains at least a little faith in Olsen's future. Though the team is shopping for free agent starters, hoping to acquire an established top-of-the-rotation veteran, it should be remembered the Olsen started 31 or more games from 2006 until 2008. Now, he will again be given a chance to compete for a spot in the Nationals' rotation. If Olsen makes 33 or more starts, the source said, he will maximize his contract, making almost $4 million.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 13, 2009; 9:57 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: [UPDATED] Nats non-tender Olsen, MacDougal
Next: Olsen, Capps, Kasten

Comments

nice move - however its one less open spot on the 40 man for a veteran arm

Posted by: sect104 | December 13, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Great move and smart move. Now you have the incentives in place where it is a win-win for both sides.

I hope they do the same with MacDougal!

Posted by: dmacman88 | December 13, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's clear to me there's a new sheriff in town. For a franchise that used to dole out $5 million contracts (Da Meat) and $8 million deals (Kearns) to guys whose only ability seemed to be enough energy to produce a human pulse, Rizzo is clearly saying: "Produce, or you're out." Or you're at least out of your contract. Smart move by Rizz, smart move by the Nats and probably a smart move by Bobo. If he's healthy and produces, the money is there.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | December 13, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow. This FO just gets things done.

It's kind of weird.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 13, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

That's the way it's done boys and girls. We're in the big leagues now.

Posted by: Section222 | December 13, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Section222. You make the scratch if you produce. There should be more contracts like this.

Posted by: dand187 | December 13, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

It seems a wise move -- with a potential high upside. I also like the offer to Will Nieves (Who?). Having Nieves available as an emergency or late-inning catcher frees up Pudge or Flores to pinch hit.

With Rodriguez and Flores around and Norris and Rooney moving through the system, there's even more intrigue around the No. 1 pick. I wonder who Rizzo really sees as his right fielder of the future -- Dukes, Burgess .... or Bryce Harper.

I hope it's Door No. 3.

Posted by: Drew8 | December 13, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I like the move. However, I will be more impressed when they spend some money on a actual FA. Marquis, Garland, etc. That will tell me that Uncle Tedddy is actually serious about spending money, and I will then spend some money on my 6th year of a 20 game plan. No FA's of value, no money on tickets.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 14, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

As one who wanted to offer Olsen arbitration, I have to say: kudos to Rizzo. I assume he had this worked out in advance, givne the quickness. Way to go! I hope Olsen wins 15 games.

Posted by: nats24 | December 14, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Good Move as long as it does not count as the two FA proven Starters not named Livo that we need. Keep in mind like Hill last year I think they can cut him in March and only pay a small portion of the $1 Mil if he has Patterson type stuff and Hill like arm issues.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 14, 2009 5:22 AM | Report abuse

hee hee. told ya.


(Hooray!)

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

nice move - however its one less open spot on the 40 man for a veteran arm

Posted by: sect104 | December 13, 2009 10:15 PM

*************

Have you seen the 40-man? Trust me. There's room.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

So far we've seen various posters get all worked up about not protecting Wilkie, not tendering Olsen, and signing Rodriguez for 2yrs/$6M (Kendall got same deal at KC). If we all grow increasingly concerned about the middle infield situation ... perhaps we'll have that position filled by Christmas.

Question: Are the Nats particularly good at keeping secrets, or are secrets kept because of the modest local coverage? I'm thinking that if some young reporter wanted to build a name for themseleves the before and after shots could show a striking contrast. This is a huge opportunity. Send your resumes to WaPO, PO Box .... Job Requirements: Must like baseball or be smart enough not to tell another reporter that you don't; willing to work, travel, etc.... vacations limited.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 14, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

It's nice to know that adults are running the show now. I'm sure that Olsen didn't find out about being non-tendered by the GM announcing it on the radio before he or his agent were contacted by the front office. I wish JimBo had shown the same courtesy to The Chief.

Posted by: ramgut | December 14, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I hope Scotty makes his $4m this year. Not knowing the details of the performance metrics, but I assume it involves IPs and Ws. Hopefully 200 and 15. (Not holding my breathe, mind you).

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | December 14, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Good signing. It's easy to forget because they came in between his lengthy stays on the DL last year but those couple of starts he had when he came back mid season were very promising. Here's hoping he make his incentive bonuses.

I have to think this was in place prior to the non-tender on Saturday. It's night and day with the way this club is being run these days.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | December 14, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Handsome John -

The article says if he makes 33 or more starts, he will maximize the contract at almost $4 million. I assume there are other benchmarks along the way, with guaranteed bonuses at say, 20 starts, 25, starts, etc.

Posted by: SpashCity | December 14, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Happy to have Olsen back and hope he makes a return to old form.

I'm sure that he was made aware of the plan: "We like you. We want to give you a chance to be our no 3 or 4 starter. But you have go out and prove yourself. And if you want to cash in on nothing (last years performance), good luck in free agency."

Wonder if the incentives also include a nicotine patch.

Posted by: nattydread1 | December 14, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Add me to the list of people happy to see the way this situation was handled by the Nats. Good luck to Olsen, I hope he can bounce back to 2006 form. Good work Rizzo- the Nats are certainly won't feel any financial pains with this deal if Olsen can't come back from his injury.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | December 14, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I think MacD would be more valuable to resign first. But great move either way.

Posted by: alex35332 | December 14, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Well, I see no "my bads" by those who were dumping on the F/O for non-tendering Olsen. But that is OK. Those are the folks who should really be running the Nats, after all, they are true fans.

What we really need in this city are people running the franchise, who are real fans. Never mind that they know very little about running either a business or a baseball club. They are fans and they are going to simply dangle trades before GMs in other cities, spend whatever on F/As, unmindful of true worth.

Oh, wait, we've got one of those in DC. His name is Dan Snyder.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 14, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Nice move, but not a hard one to make. (Olsen is likely still banged up from surgery and would have stodd a rough going trying to sign as a FA elsewhere.) When Rizzo can talk the Lerners into inking healthy top tier starters on multiple year deals for market value, I will be impressed. The bargain hunting, low risk signings need to be accenting the actual slpash in the water deals for SP. That SP talent had better be coming for 2010. They have gthe money, they acknowledge the need, there are fewer teams able to spend than in years passed -- no more excuses.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 14, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The bargain hunting, low risk signings need to be accenting the actual slpash in the water deals for SP. That SP talent had better be coming for 2010. They have gthe money, they acknowledge the need, there are fewer teams able to spend than in years passed -- no more excuses.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 14, 2009 9:51 AM

********

Not just you, dfh, but several others keept talking about bargain hunting. What has Rizzo done so far to make you think he's looking in the basement?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to Rizzo - smart move, win-win for the organization and for Olsen. Clearly already had it worked out before he put the wheels in motion. Looking forward to hearing what's next.

Posted by: natslifer | December 14, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut. Not so much Rizzo, as it is hard to paint him as the guy looking for the cheap option at every turn at this point, of course, but that has been the Plan to date for the club. Cattle call for every has-been, shoulda-been, might-have-been but for a recent surgery guy on a flyer. The Nats have never spent on top tier pitching, and I am concerned that the club will miss the boat this year by not being agressive enough early. Waiting the market out is risky for a club that needs 400 innings of sub 4.25 ERA ball.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 14, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Huh? So far this year the Nats have traded for Bruney, signed Slatten, Spier, and Rodriguez, resigned Olsen, hired a completely new front office, reestablished a presence in the Dominican, and added several new minor league coaches. What's all this about missing the boat? Seems to me they are being active. Only 30 of the 170 free agents have signed anywhere.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 14, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Interesting piece on the use of Twitter in MLB, and in particular at the winter meetings this year. (Y'all already know where I stand on it so I won't go there. ;-))

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2010493907_mari13.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 14, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Finally, a baseball business smart GM. Praise be that the future looks promising. Just don't expect to much to soon, but do expect progress much faster than the previous GM delivered. As the song says...At laaaaassst.

Posted by: cokedispatch | December 14, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

They do need to sign some pitchers. I'm less anxious about the timeline than some of our esteemed colleagues here, but the point is valid. IF they wait to get the prices down, AND thereby miss out on the players they need, THEN, yeah, they will have pooched themselves and us. I'm optimistic, but there is no "try." Do, or do not.
******************
The Nats have never spent on top tier pitching, and I am concerned that the club will miss the boat this year by not being aggressive enough early. Waiting the market out is risky for a club that needs 400 innings of sub 4.25 ERA ball [FROM 2 STARTERS PROBABLY NOT ON THE ROSTER NOW].
Posted by: dfh21 | December 14, 2009 10:33 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

That's ~18%, which is getting close to that 20/80 line. Now, these 30 are not the top 20% of the class, and I'm too lazy to look it up, but does tend to skew high? Do the better FA pitchers sign early, or late, or just whenever? Feels like a lot of Rizzo's named targets are still there, but cmifw.

**********
Only 30 of the 170 free agents have signed anywhere.
Posted by: natbiscuits | December 14, 2009 11:06 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

and just to stir things up, how's this:

Strasburg would benefit from working alongside an old pro, HOF as SS wants to be himself, someone with a work ethic and mound presence and the respect of the league, even if he doesn't throw 100+ anymore, or make 30 starts.
Randy Johnson.

(That should put the fastball among the pigeons!)

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Natsbis -- the adds to the front office, the signings of Spier and Olsen, the Bruney trade, etc., are all well and good but none of that stuff addresses the big need: FRONT END STARTING PITCHING. If they do not get a bunch of that stuff, they will have missed the boat and left the season ticket holders with a third straight DOA club on day 1 of the season. Again, they have the money, they acknowledge the need, they have less competition than ever in terms of teams willing to spend -- no excuses. They need to get it done. If it happens late this winter fine, but it has gotta happen.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 14, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So what is the story with Wilkie? Anyone know?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Wilkie was left off the 40-man, thus was eligible for the Rule 5 draft, however, he was not taken. So in essence, nothing is the story with Wilkie. He had a good AFL stint and I would imagine would be given a shot to earn a spot on the team this spring training, but hopefully we bring in more major-league ready guys, so I see him beginning the year in AAA, imo.

Posted by: sec307 | December 14, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm OK with non-tendering guys that would make too much money in arbitration, but only if they spend the money saved on something else. Something like Matt Capps and two solid starters.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 14, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but you gotta love Vice President Biden:

"It's great to be back in, as my wife refers to it, Phillies-town. Once you marry an obnoxious Phillies fan, like my wife—God she is insufferable."—Endearing himself to Philadelphians in a speech at the Committee of Seventy's annual breakfast, Philadelphia, Nov. 23, 2009.

Posted by: ramgut | December 14, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Great post, ramgut.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I understand that Rizzo is not Bowden (in so many good ways) and won't declare interest in every overweight criminal under the sun just to drum up interest but, Christ I wish we had a rumour, a little gossip, something to encourage hope that pitching is on the way.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 14, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Look at it this way, Soundbloke... not a blip was heard about Pudge, Bruney or Olsen before things happened with them, seems like the front office is very tightlipped about things. No way Rizzo isn't working on starting pitching, I bet some of the remaining guys we throw around on the board are (hopefully) weighing making more money to play here versus making less to play for a contender. Rizzo is too smart a guy to think he can offer what a "better" team is offering and think someone is going to sign here, but that doesn't mean he has to give a blank check to mediocre pitchers.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 14, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Anyone see the story that in order to acquire Roy Halladay, the Phillies may be forced to trade Cliff Lee? What do you think it would take for the Nationals to acquire Lee and should they at least try?

Posted by: garyolney | December 14, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

No blips there but there are a couple of new posts on the MASN site. One is part of Byron Kerr's interview with Ian Desmond, and the other is a piece about the Olsen re-signing. The latter notes that the Nats are in contact with MacDougal's reps, but Rizzo also notes that "it's too early to say" what might happen.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 14, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

With reports that the Sox got Lackey at least partly because they don't think they can re-sign Bay, what is the general feeling on a trade Hammer + sign Bay strategy? Getting prospects and a younger, better player in exchange for money and Type A picks. Is that an option? If you offer Boston money and 5 years, Bay would come here, right?

Posted by: natinbeantown | December 14, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Bay is not bad, but I would prefer Holliday

Posted by: sect104 | December 14, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice job by Rizzo. Here is what I would like to see. Open the purse strings get Garland and Wang. That would give us a starting rotation of Garland, Wang, Lannan, Olsen, and Have the kids (Martis, Stamen, Detwiler etc) fight it out for the 5th spot. The loosers go to the pen and or AAA. As for the pen just add McD back also pick up Schoeneweis, and Isringhausen (to mentor Storen). That would give us Burnett, Chico, Bruney, McD, Schoeneweis, Storen and Isringhausen.

Posted by: hansenjo | December 14, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd also prefer Holliday. And I see no reason why the Nats are not all over an ink Holliday and trade Willingham for pitching strategy. Not to say that is the way they have to go by any means, but (as I have said in here too often -- sorry to drone on) if they were ready to ink Tex at $185M last year, then why not get Holliday at about half that price this year?

I hope they ink Capps, on a 2 year deal maybe, and then get 2 high level SP's by whatever means necessary.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 14, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. Halladay traded to the Phillies. They'll lock him up to a long-term deal which means BIG trouble for the Nats for years to come.

Rizzo needs to sign 2 top starting pitchers NOW. He can no longer wait to see if someone drops in their lap.

Posted by: erocks33 | December 14, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how the Halladay trade affects us. If anything, Lackey and Halladay finding homes will clear the way for the next tier of signings - and that's when we need to be active.

At least Lee is gone from Philly in the deal.

Posted by: sec307 | December 14, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

MLBTR says the Lackey deal is done too. Now that Halladay is a Phillie, Lee is a Mariner and Lackey is a RedSox, I expect the other names to begin to move. I'm hoping for Garland and Marquis. I think Pinierio is a flash in the pan, Padilla is a headcase, and Wang seems to want to wait until he's 100% healthy to sign.

Maybe a chance to close for us will get us Capps too.

Posted by: sec307 | December 14, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

That's all?

-----

So far this year the Nats have traded for Bruney, signed Slatten, Spier, and Rodriguez, resigned Olsen, hired a completely new front office, reestablished a presence in the Dominican, and added several new minor league coaches.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 14, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"I don't see how the Halladay trade affects us"

Um, facing him over and over again each year affects us tremendously. He is just going to maul the Nats.

Posted by: erocks33 | December 14, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

So far this year the Nats have traded for Bruney, signed Slatten, Spier, and Rodriguez, resigned Olsen, hired a completely new front office, reestablished a presence in the Dominican, and added several new minor league coaches.
That's all?
Posted by: JohninMpls
-----
Yeah JinM, that's it. Sorry bunch of underachievers.

Posted by: BinM | December 14, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

If they're going to give up the first pick I'd rather find out what Pittsburgh wants for 22 year old Andrew McCutcheon. Put him back with the Captain and this outfield would be fun to watch.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

No, NOT trade the pick. Trade valuable inventory (Storen?) instead.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

As if Cliff Lee weren't going to maul us just as much as Halladay is going to? Please. Plus, he's one guy, the Nats completely owned the Phillies staff all season this year. Its no big thang.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | December 14, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

If Rizzo could talk Stan K. into a three-year + option offer, now would be the time to make a serious play for Garland. Otherwise, keep working the trade options with teams like ATL, AZ, CIN, FLA, or SF.

Posted by: BinM | December 14, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic, but I found this interesting enough to post. The current 40-man roster skews toward right-handed hitters (10RH, 4LH, 1SH), but is suprisingly close to balanced in pitching (14RH, 10LH); For whatever it's worth, there you go.

Posted by: BinM | December 14, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

@BinM...Good luck trying to get through to some of these folks with real knowledge and understanding about what makes a baseball team work.

BTW, Halladay is a year older than Lee and a pure F/A next year. Sorry, I'd rather the Phils have Lee (if I were a Phils Phan), but then I'm fortunate not to be one.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 14, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

@catcher50: I think the Phillies FO is starting to think they are the NL version of the Red Sox - Get the biggist "shiny thing" available while slowly gutting your prospects from the minors, just to stay competitive.

The funny thing is, the Phillies are basically competing against themselves imo, while the Red Sox have the $$$ power of the Yankees & Angels to worry about.

Posted by: BinM | December 14, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Angels (and their $$$), it looks like they just landed Matsui as a free-agent DH, and will say g'bye to Vlad Guerrero. That doesn't make a hill of beans to either the Nationals braintrust, or the teams' fans, but was worth making note of.

Posted by: BinM | December 14, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

new post...with lots o' interesting news!

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 14, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company