Mike Berardino has a story out today about the Marlins' payroll situation, which includes this Rangers relevant part:
Late-blooming John Baker is the starting catcher unless a better option comes along. That could depend on the Rangers' expected pursuit of Olsen, for whom they might be willing to dig into their deep surplus of catchers (Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia).
The Rangers' "expect pursuit of Olsen" dovetails with earlier discussions about the Rangers supposedly being interested in him, and T.R. Sullivan says that Olsen is "definitely a possibility" in his mailbag yesterday.
Here's the thing, though...
Scott Olsen isn't really that good.
He's young and left-handed, so he has that going for him. But after throwing up a 4.22 FIP as a 22 year old rookie in 2006, he's had a 5.33 and 5.02 FIP the past two years.
He'll be 25 at the start of the 2009 season, but he's got three years of service time, so he's already arb-eligible. It isn't like you'll be getting a guy who'll be making the minimum and has a ton of time before he's f.a. eligible...he's eligible for free agency after the 2011 season.
His Ks per 9 have dropped from 8.27 to 6.78 to 5.04. His walk rate dropped to just over 3 per 9 last year, which makes his K/BB ratio bad rather than horrible, but his walk rate was 4.33 per 9 in 2007.
Oh, and he's allowed 1.35 HR/9 in his career, despite pitching in the N.L. in a good pitcher's park, and he's got a career 39.8% flyball rate versus 39.7% groundball rate, so you don't even have the "he sucks, but he's a sucky groundball pitcher" argument you sometimes get for bringing in bad pitchers (see, e.g., the Electrician).
And also, after averaging fastball velocity in the 90-91 mph range prior to 2008, last year, his average fastball velocity dropped to 87.8.
And PECOTA isn't impressed, projecting (before his disappointing 2008 season) his weighted mean ERA to be floating around 5.00 from 2009-2011.
Oh, and he's apparently developed a reputation for being something of a jackass, having had run-ins with his teammates and the law and getting suspended by the Marlins.
So, yeah, I'm just kind of curious...why would the Rangers be targeting him? I can understand viewing him as an Aaron Sele (circa 1997) type reclamation project if you could get him without giving up a ton. Gerald Laird for Olsen, I'd probably do, I guess, although I don't think the Marlins would be interested in Laird, given their payroll situation.
But one of the three young catchers? For a guy who, it doesn't appear, would deserve to be slotted ahead of guys like Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman and Eric Hurley?
I don't get it. I don't see why you'd deal a Ramirez, Teagarden or Saltalamacchia to land Scott Olsen.