Scott Olsen chooses free agency

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Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that Scott Olsen opted for free agency after he was outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse. The southpaw was arbitration-eligible this winter, so this is essentially an early non-tender.

Olsen has completely fizzled out since compiling a 4.04 ERA and striking out 166 batters over 180 2/3 innings in his rookie season with the Marlins in 2006. He underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum last August and returned to post a 5.56 ERA and 53/27 K/BB over 17 games (15 starts) this past season.

Olsen spent over two months on the disabled list this season because of soreness and inflammation in his surgically-repaired shoulder and was finally shut down in September. With the health of his shoulder in question, he’ll probably have to settle for a minor league deal this winter.

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.