Buster Olney on M&M: ‘If I’m the Red Sox, I’m finding a way to get [Xander] Bogaerts in the game’
|08.26.13 at 2:19 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the Red Sox, who are coming off an impressive series win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Xander Bogaerts had a strong game Sunday and is starting live up to the hype that has surrounded him this year.
“You’re watching the at-bats — and you see guys get called up and they seem anxious most of the time, understandably. His at-bats are just so relaxed, and he looks so comfortable,” Olney said. “And he has a play at shortstop last night like the one he had on [Yasiel] Puig where he knows Puig is going down the line like a freight train, and he very adeptly picks up the ball and gets rid of it quickly so he can get him out. You always hear players talk about the internal clock, coaches and managers talk about the internal clock of players. Bogaerts clearly has an internal clock ready for the major league level.”
There have been frequent comparisons to Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who was called up late season and provided Baltimore with a boost en route to a postseason berth.
“That’s why, if I’m the Red Sox, I’m finding a way to get Bogaerts in the game one way or the other, some how, some fashion, move him around — heck, have him take some fly balls to give you some options in the outfield. But I’m keeping him in there,” Olney said. “Because he’s one of those guys who clearly has a high ceiling. It doesn’t look like the game’s speeding up on him at all.
“He may, at some point, start to have those type of things happen for a young player. But down the stretch, going into the postseason, I’m giving him every chance he can get to show that he can help. Because clearly he’s got the ability to do something like that.”
The bullpen continues to be an area of concern for Boston, but Olney said it’s unlikely the Red Sox would be able to make a deal with another team at this point, with players having to clear waivers first.
“I can’t imagine any arms coming through,” Olney said. “I wonder if at some point the Red Sox are going to start to have to take a broader look and say, ‘Boy, we do have an issue.’ Because their bullpen setup right now reminds me of those Braves bullpens in the ’90s where you had so many different parts of the team that you really liked, but this is simple lack of depth in terms of guys who can handle good hitters in a big spot. I agree with you, that’s their Achilles’ heel.”
Brandon Workman is one player who could take on a bigger role in the bullpen.
“He’s going to get a chance, I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Olney said. “And I think [John] Farrell has mentioned, as [Clay] Buchholz comes back — because the timing of his return is not perfect for making sure that he gets enough pitches and builds that up and able to return — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was one or two situations where they try to work his bullpen innings to try to help out the relief corps.”
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is having a solid season at the plate as he heads toward free agency at the end of the season.
“I’ve got to believe that if the Red Sox front office believes what John Farrell was saying to us yesterday about him improving that much, they’re going to want to work something out,” Olney said. “And Jarrod seems like a guy who really likes a familiarity. You’ve got to believe that he would want to work something out if the Red Sox will pay him.”
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