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.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.