Pirates and Scott Olsen close to incentive-laden contract

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Pittsburgh is close to signing left-hander Scott Olsen to an incentive-laden one-year contract, according to both Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

Langosch reports that the deal will be completed once Olsen passes a physical exam later this week, although given his history of shoulder problems that’s no sure thing.

Olsen was once a promising young starter for the Marlins, winning a dozen games with a 4.04 ERA as a 22-year-old rookie in 2006, but he’s gone 24-38 with a 5.17 ERA since then and had a 5.56 ERA for the Nationals this year.

He’s still just 26 years old, but Olsen’s average fastball has hovered in the high-80s for the past few seasons and he’s never had good control. Given his extreme righty-lefty splits Olsen might have some success transitioning to the bullpen, but every indication is that the Pirates view him as a full-time starter.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.