The KC Royals claimed 26-year-old LHP Tyler Olson from the New York Yankees on Tuesday, and assigned him to AAA Omaha according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan:
Olson had been designated for assignment by the Yankees on June 7. The Kansas City Royals will pick up his $507,000 salary. Moustakas is out for the season with surgery to repair his torn right ACL (knee).
Grabbing Olson reflects the drain on the KC Royals pitching depth caused by lefty Brian Duensing exercising his opt out nearly a month ago. Some reports indicated that the Kansas City Royals wished to re-sign Duensing last month.
I must confess, I’m a bit puzzled by this move. Olson’s minor league performance hasn’t been anything special, with a 3.99 career minor-league ERA in 81 games (44 starts) with a 7.9 K/9 over four seasons. He’s played two partial seasons in the major leagues, one with Seattle and this year with the Yankees posting a 5.62 career MLB ERA in 12 relief appearances.
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I suppose the KC Royals scouting staff has seen something they liked in Olson that the numbers don’t indicate. Perhaps he has LOOGY potential (Lefty one out guy) and his mediocre numbers are driven by difficulties getting right-handed hitters out.
This appears to be a pure depth signing. Kansas City Royals fans shouldn’t be expecting to see Olson with the big club anytime soon, barring a rash of injuries at the major-league level. Olson is, however, on the 40-man roster so it’s not impossible he makes a Kansas City cameo.
The KC Royals can certainly use all the pitching help they can get, though I doubt Olson ever becomes a significant piece in the Kansas City Royals bullpen or rotation.