Buster Olney

Buster Olney on MFB: Red Sox 'more equipped than any other team' to make a deal

April 29, 2015 - 9:23 am

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about potential solutions to the Red Sox' pitching woes as well as news around baseball. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page. While Red Sox starters have turned in a 6.03 ERA on the year, Olney said that an even more concerning number has been coming out of the staff. "It's the ratio of innings between the starters and the bullpen," he said. "Any miles you're running early in the season is inevitably going to take its toll, and as of this morning the starters have thrown 112 innings and the bullpen has thrown 80. That's an unbelievable ratio and workload early in the year for these guys." The only reason Olney said this is not a worst-case scenario is because the other teams in the AL East are facing struggles of their own. That in itself gives Boston a better chance to work out the kinks and gives the Sox some breathing room before crunch time. "When you look at the way the rest of the division is playing out, at least they don't have a Kansas City Royal team, a Detroit Tiger team running away, creating a big hole," Olney said. "There are five teams dealing with various issues. That would be a worst-case scenario if you actually had a couple teams spreading away from the pack, but I think it's part of the reason why the Red Sox probably have a little bit more time to deal with this, to give Buchholz, to give Wade Miley a couple more turns through the rotation to see if they're going to make things better." For Olney, the most readily available solution for the Sox is to take a trip down to Pawtucket and give pitching prospects like Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez a chance to show their stuff in the majors. "I know [the Red Sox] love the work that those guys showed in spring, and I just talked to an evaluator this morning with another team who said to me, 'We love Rodriguez.' They think Rodriguez might be one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, so those are two nice options for them to consider moving forward," Olney said. The other solution is of course the trade market. With the depth of Boston's system, Olney said there are teams that believe the Red Sox are "as equipped or maybe even more equipped than any other team to put together a deal." Olney threw out names like Cole Hamels, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza as possible veteran arms for the Sox. Hamels' name is not unfamiliar to potential trade talks, but part of the problem is the Phillies reportedly want guys like Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts from the Red Sox in return. Olney noted that if the Phillies really want value coming back for Hamels, they have to be more open-minded in who they're getting for the pitcher. If the Phillies move off Swihart, Betts and even Rodriguez, Olney said the Red Sox have plenty of other options to deal. "It's going to be a little bit more expensive for the Red Sox," he pointed out, "because I think if Cole Hamels is going to approve a trade to Boston, then he's probably going to want that option year picked up, but I don't think the Red Sox would be afraid of that necessarily. The first step, though, has to be the Phillies moving off what they talked about in the past in terms of demands."