It has been said that to accomplish anything in life you either need inspiration or desperation. Given how little is happening on the hot stove front right now, let’s settle for desperation.
To wit: Mike Olt has signed what is almost certainly a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins. We don’t even know about this because of a team press release or an agent whispering sweet nothings into Ken Rosenthal’s ear. We know it because Olt posted about it on his Instagram page. I sure hope newsrooms around the country are staffed-up enough to handle this breaking story.
You may remember that Olt, who is 30 now, was once a highly-regarded Rangers prospect. He didn’t pan out as a big leaguer, though, having posted a career line of .168/.250/.330 in 400 plate appearances. He hasn’t played in the majors since 2015, but he took a lot of walks last year in Red Sox’ organization going .214/.346/.412 with 11 homers in 74 games.
Olt is perhaps most famous for breaking camp as the Cubs’ Opening Day third baseman in 2015. He got the gig over Kris Bryant, who was kept in the minors in one of the most notorious acts of service time manipulation you’ll ever see. For a couple of weeks poor Joe Maddon had to pretend, when asked, that Olt was the smarter call and that Bryant needed to “work on his defense” or some such nonsense (note: Bryant’s defense was so shaky that the Cubs put him out in center field within a week of his eventual promotion).
Olt went 0-for-4 that Opening Day and lasted all of six games with the Cubs, going 2-for-15 and then breaking his wrist, at which point Bryant was finally called up, exactly one day later than the date which would’ve given him a full year’s service time in 2015, thereby pushing his free agency off a year. One wonders what might’ve happened if Olt broke his wrist earlier. Who knows? Anyway, after rehabbing his wrist he was waived after which he played 24 lackluster games with the White Sox and that was that for his big league career. Bryant, of course, won the Rookie of the Year Award that season and the MVP Award in his second season.
Unless of course he catches fire at Rochester and makes it to the bigs with the Twins, of course. Which would be nice to see. Partially because it’d be nice for a one time prospect to have another shot at it. Partially because is bums me out that Olt’s most notable big league accomplishment so far has been to be used by the Cubs front office to save them a year of service time on Bryant.