As expected, the Pirates and Scott Olsen have agreed to a one-year contract with a team option for 2012.
Olsen, who’s gone 24-38 with a 5.17 ERA since a solid rookie season in 2006, will try to resurrect his career in Pittsburgh while earning $500,000 in base salary with another $3 million in potential incentives.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com the Pirates will also hold a $4 million option on Olsen for 2012, giving them a chance to retain him at a somewhat reasonable rate just in case he finally breaks through with a big year at age 27.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.