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Buster Olney on M&M: Red Sox lack ‘defined chain of command’

07.11.12 at 3:17 pm ET
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ESPN MLB analyst Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni for his weekly appearance on Wednesday afternoon, saying the Red Sox need a stronger chain of command. To listen to the interview visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“That’s really what a lot of this stuff comes down to, without having specifics of who’s having disagreements with who,” Olney said. “Ultimately the reason why all this is happening, and the same reason why years ago there was the issue between Larry [Lucchino] and Theo [Epstein] was because there wasn’t really a distinct chain of command that was determined by the ownership. They need to [fix] that and [the problem's] not going to get solved until that happens.

“All these issues of who’s speaking to who and who’s not talking to who and who’s not getting along with who, that’s not going to be settled until they deal with that. Again, as we’ve said in recent weeks, they can still win in spite of that. They’ve got a tremendous amount of terrific players.”

The analyst couldn’t comment on rumors of Boston restraining Bobby Valentine from using his managerial style, but Olney said the problem — if it exists — stems from ownership.

“Here’s the bottom line: That’s something where the ownership, if that’s an issue, whether it’s letting Ben [Cherington] have full control or letting Bobby be Bobby and do what he does, that’s got to come from the top,” Olney said. “That’s got to come from John Henry in the same way that they had to decide, ‘OK Theo you run baseball operations. Larry, you stand over here.’ Or ‘Larry you’re going to run baseball operations and Theo answers to you.’ They have to determine those things but that’s clearly, it’s sort of at the root of the issues they have that there isn’t a defined chain of command where they need it.”

Olney said when he noted Red Sox problems in a column he was referring to ongoing issues as opposed to ones already reported.

“I kind of find it funny because, within the baseball industry, it’s not even a secret,” Olney said. “It’s such an open conversation about issues that different people in that organization have that it’s funny that it hasn’t been written about more there, to be honest with you.”He also addressed possibilities of the Red Sox shopping Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Becket and Jon Lester at the trade deadline.

“I can’t imagine that they would trade Ellsbury,” Olney said. “I just can’t even imagine that because we saw last year how good he can be. If you see Lester now let’s face it, you’re selling him at a time when there are more questions about him than ever about what exactly is he. Is he an ace, is a he a No. 2? And with Beckett, given the amount of money that’s owed to him, it would be a situation where they wouldn’t get a lot of value and they’d probably eat most of his contract.”

Read More: ben cherington, buster olney, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester
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