Bucs release Ohlendorf

Ross Ohlendorf has joined the pool of free agent pitchers after being released by the Pirates late Wednesday night.

By removing Ohlendorf from the 40-man roster, the Pirates now have the option of selecting a player in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. Pittsburgh has the eighth selection in the Draft, which will begin at 10 a.m. ET and wrap up the Winter Meetings.

Ohlendorf seemed an unlikely candidate to be a part of the Pirates’ 2012 plans after enduring a second straight dismal season on the mound. After finishing 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA in 2010, Ohlendorf won just one game and posted an 8.15 ERA in nine starts last season.

He spent much of 2011 on the disabled list while recovering from a right shoulder strain. In 2010, it was shoulder and back issues that put Ohlendorf on the DL.

While the Pirates still believe Ohlendorf is better than his recent results would suggest, he was going to be owed more than the Pirates were willing to pay if the club offered him arbitration. Arbitration eligible for the second year, Ohlendorf would have been guaranteed at least 80 percent of his 2011 salary, which was $2.025 million.

Pittsburgh was going to have to make a decision by midnight on Monday about whether the club was willing to go the arbitration route with the 29-year-old right-hander. The Pirates still have another eight arbitration-eligible players to make a decision about before next week’s deadline.

Ohlendorf has been in the organization since arriving as part of a 2008 Trade Deadline deal with the Yankees. He won 11 games and made 29 starts for Pittsburgh in ’09.

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4 Comments

Dumb move, but we expect that. Before his last start in 2010, his ERA was under 4 despite a 1-10 record (which said a lot more about the team than it did him). Last year was a disaster due to mishandling.

A healthy Ohlendorf is worth a lot more than $2 mil.

How does releasing him open a spot for the rule V draft? His spot went to Navarro.

No, the Pirates can use that open spot for a Rule 5 pick if they like. The club does not have to officially put Navarro on the 40-man until later on Thursday, so they have time to make another move. Now, if the Pirates opt not to make a selection in the Rule 5 Draft (i.e. no player they like is left when pick No. 8 is up), then that spot can end up going to Navarro.

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