Buster Olney

Buster Olney on MFB: 'Incredible' that almost every Red Sox move has failed to work out this season

July 22, 2015 - 9:54 am

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to talk about where the Red Sox might go from here. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page. In the midst of a six-game losing streak and now tied for a season-worst 10 games out of first place in the division, the Red Sox are at a bit of a crossroads. They could become sellers at the trade deadline, though Olney said they don't have much to offer. "You can call other teams about Shane Victorino," he said. "I literally hung up the phone with an evaluator with another team before I got on with you guys and I asked about Victorino and he said, 'Look, he's hurt a lot and he's owed a lot of money.' So if you're the Red Sox and you want to move him, you're probably going to have to eat almost all the money, and you're probably going to get a Grade C prospect in return, some fringey-type guy who might help the organization. The same's the case with Napoli because he's playing so poorly and because he's owed so much money and the Red Sox would have to eat a lot of the money. It's almost the point where the bigger question is who's going to benefit from the playing time." Olney noted that he's not sure how Boston could represent Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval as anything other than designated hitters at this point, saying that probably the only way the team could move the two of them was in exchange for an equally bad contract. Olney pointed out that contrary to 2013 when every move the Sox made seemed to work right away in their favor, 2015 has been almost the opposite, and Olney is incredulous at how poorly the moves coming into this season have worked out. "It's incredible," he said. "It's like a Murphy's Law series of moves that every single one, for a lot of different reasons, just haven't worked out. Look, there was logic behind all them, there's obviously a lot of thought put into it, there's obviously a lot of money put into it, but it's like every single move from Allen Craig, Joe Kelly, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Rick Porcello, every single move has not turned out. The best things about this team right now are these young players who were here before they made all these moves. It would be almost impossible to repeat that series of events like they had during the wintertime where Justin Masterson, etc., etc., etc., and have it all fall flat the way that it has. "You'd think that a longtime shortstop could make a transition to left field, and it just hasn't panned out, any of those," he added. The Sox could go out and get Cole Hamels as was discussed earlier in the season, but Olney said the combination of his age, contract and the team's current standing might not be worth it. Similarly, going after someone like Johnny Cueto might not be a good idea, either. "Not only is [Cueto] a rental, but there's a lot of questions about his elbow," Olney said. "He threw a lot more offspeed pitches in his last outing, his command was off. Given where the Red Sox are today, and given the fact that Cole Hamels is 31 years old and I think he's going to be 32 when next season starts, I don't know, even if the Phillies called today and said, 'Hey, remember that offer you guys were talking about in spring? Maybe we can do that deal,' I don't know, if I'm the Red Sox, if I would necessarily do that. Because at this point, what, you're going to buy in for two months of Cole Hamels that really has no value to you anymore because you're probably not in contention for the rest of the year, and on top of that, you're buying the back end of a contract of a guy who's going to be making 24, 25 million dollars." Instead, Olney said the Sox might almost want to reset a bit, wait for free agency in the fall and look at some "value-type acquisitions as well as that great white whale of having someone who can lead the rotation."