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Buster Olney on M&M: Rival GM says Red Sox would get ‘nothing’ in trade of Alfredo Aceves

04.24.13 at 1:17 pm ET
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Buster Olney of ESPN joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about what the Red Sox might do with Alfredo Aceves in light of his mounting issues, and about some of Carl Crawford‘s recent comments about his time in Boston.

Olney said he doubts the Sox would get much, if anything, by trading Aceves, more because of his attitude problems than his pitching.

“I’d be surprised, after he had that incident in spring training, if you guys remember — the live BP session in which he wasn’t giving 100 percent effort,” Olney said. “I asked one general manager, what could you get for him? And he said, ‘Nothing.’ Basically, because his reputation as a teammate is so bad. That’s not to rule out the possibility that he would go someplace else and actually pitch OK, but I think all the personality stuff we’ve seen in the last two years is going to certainly mitigate some teams’ interest in adding him while giving something up that they consider to be worthwhile.

“Maybe the best thing the Red Sox could hope for would be some degree of salary relief, and there are certainly teams out there that would take a shot at him because they’re struggling for pitching. The Angels, who are absolutely starved right now, maybe they would take a shot at him, but again, I don’t think they’re going to get anything serious in return based on what I’ve heard from rival general managers.”

Meanwhile, in a Wednesday column by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Crawford said that he’ll always carry his time in Boston with him, “because it did so much damage to the inside of me.” Before Crawford came to Boston, Olney said, there were people in the Rays organization who were concerned about his ability to move to a higher-pressure market. There also were members of the Yankees organization who had the same worries, even as the Yankees showed an interest in him.

Even so, Olney said he thinks Crawford’s attitude toward Boston since being traded to Los Angeles is more an effort to keep himself sharp than anything else.

“I think a lot of what you’re reading from Carl is him finding and developing a chip on his shoulder,” Olney said. “I was around Carl for a good number of days when he was with the Red Sox. I didn’t think he was mistreated at all. I thought he was treated great. Relative to how he was performing, yeah, he got booed a little bit. I don’t think the media was really all that tough on him. But I think that what you have is, Carl will tell you about, people back in high school didn’t believe in me, I had doubters, people wondered, and I just think this is a way to motivate himself on a daily basis. And he is a motivated guy. The guy’s getting up at 4:30, 5 every day to work out. ‘€¦ It’s like he’s playing ninja mind games with himself.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox coverage, go to weei.com/redsox.

On whether Aceves needs to be out of the clubhouse even if he can’t be traded: “It depends on what the internal conversations were last night after the game. ‘€¦ The fact that they left him in to take that beating made me wonder, OK, there’s some kind of push-pull thing going on here. If in the meeting they decided, last night, he basically stopped competing on the mound, if that’s what they believe, you’ve got to move him out as soon as possible, because they’ve got a great thing going.

“Aceves is one of those guys who had issues last year, and he’s still around. You’ve got to turn the page. And it’s not like they don’t have other options, especially if Daniel Bard comes back up and really establishes himself. I think Aceves’ value is really wrapped up in his versatility, but if the distractions and the questions about his effort outweigh what he’s actually producing on the field, then you just move on. And I think they may have reached that point last night if what they were saying in their internal meeting was that he stopped competing.”

On whether Joel Hanrahan will close upon returning from injury: “I would probably keep Hanrahan in that role because that’s what he’s done in recent years. That’s what you acquired him to do. I think [AndrewBailey has demonstrated he can be an effective setup man. And I know this, that there are general managers and managers who believe that when you take a guy out of the closer’s role during the year, that there is that sense of failure that doesn’t go away. That’s why sometimes they’re reluctant to do that in midstream. They have to wait for the repeated failures. ‘€¦ But I do think, because the division’s competitive and because they do have a lot of options, after a while it will come down to who’s throwing the best.”

On Allen Webster and the trade the Sox made to get him: “People with other teams were screaming about that trade last year after it was made, because they felt like what the Dodgers could have done was say, ‘We know you want [Rubby] De La Rosa, we know you want Webster, but there’s no chance you’re getting those guys. What, are you out of your minds? We’re taking all that dead money off your payroll.’ And when they gave up two of their best pitching prospects, executives of other teams were just scratching their heads, because they looked at both of those guys as being potential impact guys.

“I know that everything [Webster] did confirmed that people believed what his potential could be. That’s why, when that trade was made, people were saying, for Ben Cherington, this was one of the best trades they’ve seen in recent years.”

On Mike Napoli’s hip condition impacting the offers he’ll get as a free agent next year: “I think it’ll hurt him. A lot of it’s going to come down to exactly what doctors are seeing in that condition year to year. They have enough pictures of that hip where they can determine exactly where he is physically, but it surprised me that it had as much of an impact as it did [on his deal with the Sox], because I know the Rangers were aware of it, that issue that was hanging on him, and he actually played a lot of the last two years with that. That’s why I thought for sure someone might jump in and try to wrest him away from the Red Sox when that deal wasn’t getting done. But maybe Mike just decided, look, I like this situation, I like this park, I can establish myself as more of a first baseman as opposed to someone whose value is built in as a catcher, and that’s what he’s doing this year.”

On PED suspicion about Bartolo Colon: “That’s what some executives felt the last two years. It made them angry that he was having success, but all you can do is test him as much as you can and continue the investigation of the Miami PED thing. Beyond that, there’s not a lot you can do. I can tell you guys there are definitely current players who have not been busted in the last year where executives and scouts with other teams are saying, ‘Can you believe that garbage? Look how he’s changed physically. Look how different he is. Look at his production. I’m not buying that, it’s a joke.’ There are certainly players who I think the free agent offers and the trade offers that involved them were really affected by the perception that these guys are not playing on the level, that they are cheating.

“But there’s nothing you can do, and I fully understand and agree with the fact that Oakland, even after [Colon] got busted playing for them last year, when he became a free agent, they said, you know what, we’re going to sign him, because we don’t have any control over this, and Major League Baseball does the testing, and if they’re telling him his player’s eligible, then we have to consider it. He’s been a really effective pitcher for them.”

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