Buster Olney on MFB: Red Sox 'have to figure out how to get [Clay Buchholz] right'

May 28, 2014 - 9:58 am

ESPN'€™s Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Clay Buchholz'€™s struggles, Manny Ramirez'€™s return to baseball and the Red Sox'€™ chances in the trade market. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page. Buchholz has been a far cry from the pitcher who was 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 2013, as he currently has a 7.02 ERA, the lowest mark among qualifying starting pitchers in the majors. "Right now, he'€™s not competitive," Olney said. "It'€™s not only a question of what happens in his starts, but the effect it has on the bullpen when you have a starting pitcher that'€™s not going to go long, and given the fact that they have an obligation to him for $12 million for next year after paying him close to $8 million this year, they have to figure out how to get him right. "€œI think there will be an instinct of, '€˜Hey, maybe there will be a team interested in him out there in the trade market.'€™ With how he'€™s pitching right now, he'€™s a complete unknown and I bet you any team that would be talking about it would running in the other direction until they get some sense of when he can get traction on his performance." Ramirez is back in baseball, as the Cubs signed the former Sox slugger to serve as a player-coach for the team'€™s Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs. "€œI was completely shocked, because of all the burned bridges that Manny had in his past. ... I thought that what Manny Ramirez did in the summer of 2008 was the worst thing that I've ever seen since I started covering baseball," Olney said. "€œIn my opinion, it wasn't that far removed from what we saw with the Black Sox in 1919, where you essentially had a situation where, and only Manny knows for sure, he essentially made up his mind he was not going to compete in an effort to get himself traded and to get into better contractual situations." Olney continued: "I was stunned that he was hired. ... That'€™s not some person I'€™d be betting on, because if something goes wrong in his work with young players, if something happens, [the Cubs] are going to get hammered for it." While the trade deadline is more than two months away, Olney noted that there may not be many impact players out on the market for teams like the Red Sox. "€œI think finding a piece is really difficult," Olney said. "Offense is down so much and teams are hoarding guys who can hit, and if you'€™re looking for a thumper, you'€™re in the Red Sox'€™ position, that guy'€™s going to be hard to get. Beyond that, I just don'€™t see the Red Sox, after they made that trade with the Dodgers and where they are philosophically, I don'€™t see them ripping up their farm system and trying to go out to get a player who'€™s necessarily going to help them in a big way this year." Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox. On the Red Sox reportedly offering Jon Lester a four-year, $70 million extension: "€œI find it unbelievable that they'€™re in this position and they'€™re not stepping in and at least firing what you would prefer to be their best bullet before it gets too late. Time is running out here. ... It'€™s mind-boggling to me if the Red Sox haven'€™t actually upgraded that offer already."€ On Boston'€™s chances of acquiring Jeff Samardzija or Emilio Bonifacio in a trade: "I'€™m saying that there'€™s no chance [for a straight-up Buchholz-for-Samardzija deal.] ... Assuming the Cubs trade Jeff Samardzija before July 31, their deal is going to be built around young pitching, because that'€™s what [Cubs president] Theo [Epstein] and [GM] Jed [Hoyer] need. ... "[Bonifacio] might be a possibility. I have no idea if that'€™s being discussed. ... Besides his versatility, I don'€™t know Bonifacio would necessarily help the Red Sox. ... When I look at the Red Sox, the question is who'€™s going to bring thump? They've got so many spots in that lineup where they'€™re having problems, and Bonifacio, to me, is not necessarily someone who would help that problem."