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Buster Olney on M&M: Stephen Drew should accept Boston’s qualifying offer

11.06.13 at 4:32 pm ET
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ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox’ offseason and the impending free agent frenzy.

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

With Boston not offering catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer, many have speculated that the Red Sox and free agent Brian McCann could be a match.

“Generally speaking, I can’t see them going absolutely nutty for a 30-year-old catcher who’s going to transition to DH,” Olney said. “And if the Yankees or the Phillies or the Rangers are going to go six [years] for [$]120 [million], I don’t think the Red Sox would chase them.

“However, if there are a number of offers that are within range of each other, and the Red Sox are one of those teams, there a lot of reasons why the Red Sox would consider it,” Olney said, adding, “Just knowing Brian, he was a great team guy, he fits totally into what the Red Sox built in 2013. I do think that if he feels like he can go to a good situation, and yeah it might cost him some money, I absolutely think he’d be open-minded about that.”

If Boston signs McCann, it would almost certainly spell the end of Saltalamacchia’s four-year run with the Red Sox.

“I got to believe he’s going to be somewhere else,” said Olney, who added that Saltalamacchia’s benching in the World Series could factor into the decision. “You don’t one week go from saying, ‘You know what, we’re going to play our backup catcher,’ and then say, ‘We’ll give you $50 million.’ ”

Boston did make the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer to shortstop Stephen Drew.

“When you talk to GMs of other teams, they just cant see other teams coming close to giving Stephen Drew a $14.1 million salary that would be close to a qualify offer,” Olney said, adding, “I think in the end, the smart play for Drew is going to be to accept a one-year deal with the Red Sox, we just don’t know if that’s something that Scott [Boras] would necessarily do.”

If Drew is re-signed, that likely means Xander Bogaerts would be in a battle for third base with Will Middlebrooks next season.

“The perception of Bogaerts within the industry is that he can’t be a shortstop, he’s got to be a third baseman, that that’s absolutely his position of the future,” Olney said.

The Mariners, a small market team that last made the playoffs in 2001, might not seem like a likely destination for Jacoby Ellsbury. But between an influx in cash thanks to massive television deals around MLB, and Ellsbury’s West Coast connections, don’t count Seattle out.

“Him being from the area, the Mariners trying to change the conversation, and the fact is, they have the money to do it,” Olney said.

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Brian McCann, buster olney, Jacoby Ellsbury, jarrod saltalamacchia
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