Scott Olsen tossed four no-hit innings yesterday in his first relief appearance since 2005, but afterward made it very clear that he wants nothing to do with the bullpen long term.
I’d like to start. I don’t want to be a bullpen guy. The biggest difference in not being able to throw 140 feet before I get on the mound. That’s not going to work. I’ve done it. I don’t get on the mound unless I play long toss. That’s the biggest difference. Obviously, I don’t want to be in the bullpen. I’d rather start. That’s not what they want me to do.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post described Olsen as “slumped in a chair in front of his locker” and noted his “glum postgame demeanor.”
Olsen’s reluctance to fill a role he’s basically never filled before is certainly understandable, but he’s at the “beggars can’t be choosers” portion of his career at this point. He’s gone 3-8 with a 5.88 ERA in 15 starts this season and is 23-38 with a 5.22 ERA in 92 starts since his good rookie season for the Marlins in 2006.
Four years, 92 starts, and 516 innings worth of a 5.22 ERA as a starter basically means you no longer have any say over your role. And if anything Olsen should be open to a move to the bullpen because it might extend his career and give him a chance to be something more than a fourth or fifth starter.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.