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Olney impressed with Red Sox’ approach

12.09.09 at 12:32 pm ET
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ESPN’s Buster Olney made an appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday morning to discuss the latest baseball rumors. Olney warned that the Red Sox very well may sit back and pass on the big-name free agents this offseason.

“There’s not a single player on the market that is a huge difference-making player if you don’t get him at the price you want,” Olney said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they wound up doing more incremental stuff than any kind of a big thing.”

Olney commented on the Sox’ key moves so far ‘€” the acquisitions of outfielder Jeremy Hermida and shortstop Marco Scutaro.

“The Hermida deal may not help them at all in the end. It might be that he’ll go to the Red Sox and be as disappointing to them as he was to the Marlins,” Olney said. “I know that there are questions about whether or not he’s going to be focused enough to get locked in and take it to the next level and realize his talent. I think that’s a worthwhile gamble for them, though, because he certainly does have that talent. And I like the Scutaro deal because unlike some of the other guys they’ve gotten in the past at shortstop, at least they’re not locked into this. If [Jed] Lowrie steps up then you could always move Scutaro to another position.”

Olney discussed a rumor that the Sox had a discussion with outfielder Coco Crisp, whom they traded last November to the Royals. Olney said Crisp likely will have better offers if he decides to come back from his shoulder injury. Said Olney: “I suspect that he’s a fallback position … if they don’t re-sign Bay or if they don’t sign Matt Holliday ‘€” if they find themselves looking to mix and match a little bit with Hermida and maybe some other guys.”

Olney said general managers around the league are looking for value with a Moneyball-type approach, and it’s having a big affect on the free agent market. “I think quite literally you’ve got a lot more teams making a lot smarter decisions, and in a lot of cases they’re working from the same equations and using the same numbers to make a value judgment,” he said.

Olney said he’s impressed with the Red Sox’ approach regarding free agent outfielders Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. “I think they are absolutely playing it the exact right way,” Olney said. “The big question now for the Red Sox is how serious are the Angels on Bay. I don’t think we know that yet. If the Angels are serious and they want to pay him $80 million, I think he’s going to be gone. But from the Red Sox’ point of view, they are clearly one of the teams willing to spend a lot of money ‘€” and there are not very many teams willing to spend a lot of money on a corner outfielder. I really think in their internal evaluations they’re not looking at these two guys as being Mark Texeira-like players. They’re looking at them as being really good players that they’d like to have, but only at their price. And given that, I think they’re playing it very smart in letting the market come to them. And if Jason Bay gets $100 million to go the Angels, you tip your cap. If Matt Holliday gets $100 million to go the Cardinals, you tip your cap. But I think in the end, one of those two players is going to come knocking on the Red Sox and say, ‘Please give us what you can.’ ”

Olney said another factor working in the Red Sox’ favor is that Seattle does not seem to be a player in the chase for Bay due to his alleged defensive deficiencies and the fact that Seattle’s ballpark does not favor right-handed hitters. Said Olney: “I’ve had conversations with Mariners people. They just don’t think he’s a fit.”

To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Read More: buster olney, Coco Crisp, jason bay, Jeremy Hermida
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