On Wednesday December 7, 2011 the Pittsburgh Pirates released starting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf.
In 2009, Ohlendorf posted a 11-10 record with 3.92 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. He was possible the best pitcher in the Pirates rotation. In 2010 he posted decent numbers going 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA.
In his last 10 starts of 2010, before injuring his right shoulder, he posted a 2.35 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP, numbers of a true No. 1 starter and that would have lead to much better win/loss record any where other than in Pittsburgh.
The numbers were good enough for him to win a $2.025 million arbitration case last winter.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Ohlendorf was optimistic about a full recovery for 2011. In his article "Ohlendorf likely out for the year" Kovacevic wrote that Ohlendorf was very pleased with the doctors diagnosis.
"I'm very relieved with the diagnosis," Ohlendorf said. "I hadn't had anything like that. Didn't know what to expect. I was afraid it might be worse. To know I'm going to make a full recovery, pretty much without question, is really encouraging."
Although Ohlendorf was optimistic, 2011 did not go well. He was injured most of the season and posted the worst numbers of his five year career. He was 1-3 with a 8.15 ERA and 1.94 WHIP.
Was it the injuries and the poor numbers of 2011 that led to his release, or as Bill Brink and Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Wrote in their article "Lee declines arbitration with Pirates; Ohlendorf released" was it the signing of Erik Bedard and the arbitration rule stipulating that Ohlendorf could not earn less than 80 percent of his previous salary, or about $1.62 million, making him too expensive.
I believe it must have been the injuries. Ohlendorf has proven he can pitch well at the Major League level. His problem is health.
$1.62 million is a bargain if he could pitch like he did in 2009 and 2010, but it is too much for a pitcher who may only give you 1/3 of a season, or less.