Buster Olney on MFB: ‘You cannot find threads of logic' with MLB's disciplinary decisions

June 11, 2014 - 9:52 am

ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss John Lackey'€™s future, Stephen Drew'€™s struggles and Orioles third baseman Manny Machado'€™s suspension. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page. Questions have been raised about Lackey'€™s future in Boston, as the righty is owed the league minimum of $500,000 next season due to a clause in his contract that penalizes him for missing a year due to injury. It'€™s been speculated that Lackey might leave Boston and sign with a team in Japan in order to get a larger salary. "I'€™m pretty sure it would be impossible, because Japan has a working agreement with Major League Baseball," Olney said. "€œIn other words, when you see players go from Major League Baseball to Japan, often times they are players that are sold, there'€™s a transaction. That'€™s what happened with Masahiro Tanaka and his team, which got $20 million before he went to the Yankees. ... The idea that John Lackey can walk out of his contract, or any player, and just simply say, '€˜I'€™m not going to honor that contract for 2015. I'€™m going to go play in Japan,' I've got to believe that there would be a big problem with it and the leagues in Japan wouldn't allow that. Olney continued: "At this point, it seems like it'€™s a lot more media speculation about what might happen with a situation then actual reality." Machado was suspended for five games after throwing his bat across the field while at the plate during Baltimore'€™s game against Oakland on Sunday. Meanwhile, A's reliever Fernando Abad, who twice threw at Machado, was not suspended. This raised questions in Boston, because Sox pitcher Brandon Workman was handed a six-game suspension on June 3 for throwing behind Rays third baseman Evan Longoria on May 30. "I wrote a column today about how, when you piece together all the decisions made by Major League Baseball, especially the last couple of years, you cannot find threads of logic. They make no sense,"€ Olney said. "Think about it. Last year, Ryan Dempster threw at Alex Rodriguez repeatedly, smoked him eventually --€“ he got five games. Brandon Workman hit nobody, and only Brandon knows exactly what he was trying to do, but I think you could make the argument that he actually sort of intentionally missed Longoria by throwing behind him. ... And he gets more games than Ryan Dempster? That makes no sense." Olney added: "Carlos Quentin charged the mound last year --€“ he got eight games. On the other hand, Manny Machado does this thing that [MLB] is most afraid of in wielding a bat during a game and he gets five games? ... It makes no sense, and they've got to come up with a better system." Drew has struggled since his return to the Red Sox, as the shortstop is hitting just .071 with one RBI in four games. While Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington defended Drew on Tuesday, Olney acknowledged that the team might have some buyer'€™s remorse at this point in the season. "€œI think that it'€™s possible that they could [have buyer'€™s remorse]. Two days before they signed him, I checked around with the Red Sox and I got no feel that they were thinking about signing Stephen Drew," Olney said, adding: "The way that this has played out, I've got to tell you, was exactly how a lot of executives though it might play out whenever Drew signed. ... They sign him for $10 million and they pinch hit for him the other night against the Tigers? That'€™s not normally something you see with a player that you invest in that much." Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox. On whether the performances of Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa gives Clay Buchholz more time to rehab in the minors: "I really think it'€™s going to come down to how good do they think Buchholz is. The questions around Buchholz were enormous, and I know after talking with people with how he threw in Detroit the other day ... they felt really good about that. ... I think they want to be confident that he'€™s right physically and he'€™s right mentally, and certainly, when you get Workman throwing the ball well, Rubby throws the ball well, too, that'€™s going to buy them some more time." On whether the Yankees need to remove the slumping Derek Jeter from the lineup: "I think we'€™re day to day at this point. ... I do think, as his numbers drift down, those questions are going to be coming up more and more within the Yankees organization. ... Time is undefeated, and moving around Derek Jeter is not an insult to him. They'€™re trying to win."