Buster Olney on M&M: Xander Bogaerts could come up and contribute right now

August 07, 2013 - 9:52 am

ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney checked in with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday afternoon, and while acknowledging the Red Sox could use another piece or two '€” specifically a bat or a right-handed reliever '€” he said finding it at this time of year will be next to impossible. There is always the possibility of an August waiver-wire deal, of course, and names like Brewers righty Mike Gonzalez or Rockies righty Rafael Betancourt may sounds appealing. But for the Red Sox, who at 69-46 own the best record in the American League, there is a slim chance all of the teams ahead of them would allow a player the Sox would want to acquire to drop to them. '€œThe Red Sox are in a terrible position in this regard because every American League East contender is going to have the first shot on waiver claims,'€ Olney said. '€œSo '€” I'€™m riffing here because I haven'€™t checked who has gone through today '€” let'€™s say a Betancourt comes down the pike. You know the Orioles are going to place a claim in front of the Red Sox. You know Brian Cashman, who is the pioneer of the waiver claiming, the general manager of the Yankees, is going to use that power to try and block them. '€¦ I almost think that there'€™s no chance that they get meaningful help.'€ The Red Sox could, however, get help internally. With top prospect Xander Bogaerts continuing to perform well with Triple-A Pawtucket, Olney said the Red Sox could call him up sooner rather than later. As many others have noted, Olney suggested the call-up could be in the mold of Manny Machado, who made his major league debut with the Orioles Aug. 9, 2012, then hit .262/.294/.445 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 51 games down the stretch en route to Baltimore'€™s playoff bid. '€œThe feeling is [Bogaerts is] that developed and he'€™s that good that there would be a chance that he would get called up and immediately help the team,'€ Olney said. '€œAnd you have to figure that at some point the Red Sox, some point before midnight Aug. 31, that they would just '€” if there'€™s a clear need '€” where they can say, '€˜You know what? We want to make sure he'€™s eligible for the postseason roster, so let'€™s give that a shot.'€™ And I do think that based on what I hear from people on other teams '€” and they think he'€™s that good '€” yes, it makes sense to give him a shot.'€ Following are more highlights from the conversation. To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox. On Alex Rodriguez and what could come next in the saga with him and the Yankees: '€œThis is a marriage that '€” unlike real marriages that are held together for the sake of the children '€” this one is held together only because of the contract. The Yankees don'€™t want him around, no one wants him around, everybody wants him to go away, but he'€™s got this huge contract, and he'€™s in year six of a 10-year deal, so the Yankees grimace and they put him out there in part because from a strictly financial question, it'€™s smart for them to hang onto them to see what happens with the arbitrator. Who knows? At some point if he'€™s physically not able to play, if he gets suspended all of next year, he tries to come back in 2015, he'€™s not able to, they get insurance relief. '€¦ '€œThere is the hope I think on their side that maybe he'€™ll make a difference, but I don'€™t think they really believe that. '€¦ I do think at some point the Yankees, after they save their money from the suspension, will look at the distraction-vs.-production equation and say, '€˜You know what? We just want this guy out of here, and we'€™re just going to cut him.'€™ Once that happens, the door from Major League Baseball is going to hit him in the backside so hard and so fast, he'€™ll never play again.'€ On Bryce Harper, who was part of a bench-clearing incident in Tuesday night'€™s Nationals-Braves game: '€œPlayers can'€™t stand him. There'€™s no doubt. I'€™ve had a lot of players complain to me. They roll their eyes. The one big difference between he and [David] Ortiz is Ortiz has been doing it for 15 years, so there'€™s that sense of, well, you know what, you'€™ve earned it. I think Bryce had the swagger before other players feel like you'€™re in the right to be that way."