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Buster Olney on M&M: ‘I thought [John] Farrell was going to win’ AL Manager of the Year

11.13.13 at 1:54 pm ET
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ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the American League Manager of the Year award, as well as a number of Red Sox free agents.

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

The BBWAA announced on Tuesday that former Red Sox manager and current Indians skipper Terry Francona won the AL Manager of the Year award, his first in 13 years as the top man on the bench for a major league team.

“I think it’s a great award and it’s pretty cool for Tito that he won,” Olney said. “But I have been doing this for a long time and I have no idea what the criteria is, and I don’t think anybody else does. … Generally speaking they make those choices through the prism of who won and who lost and team success. I always thought that the big market teams were always at a big, big disadvantage.”

Francona (16 first-place votes) edged Boston’s John Farrell (12 first-place votes), with Oakland’s Bob Melvin third. Many expected Farrell, who led the Red Sox from a 69-93 season in 2012 to a World Series in 2013 in his first season at the helm, to be the winner.

“I thought Farrell was going to win, it surprised me that he didn’t,” Olney said.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli rejected Boston’s qualifying offers, which means they now can enter the offseason as free agents.

Ellsbury is expected to receive the most lucrative contract of the three. He’s been linked to a number of teams, most recently the Mariners and Rangers.

“I think the Texas Rangers are viewed as the wild card, because they so desperately need help with their lineup,” Olney said, adding: “I think Jacoby will end up getting an offer in the [Carl] Crawford range, because the Mariners know by now that they’ve got confederate money, that free agents don’t want to go there, and if they’re going to be interested in somebody like Jacoby, they’re going to have to go above and beyond to get him.”

Boston did not make Jarrod Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer, which indicated that the Red Sox lacked interest in resigning the catcher, despite him coming off arguably his best season as a professional.

“I’ve heard that actually they made an offer to him,” Olney said. “I can’t tell you if that’s a one-year, $1 million type of offer, a lot of times agents will spin these things in different ways, but the word among the general managers down in Orlando is [the Red Sox] have an offer to Saltalamacchia.”

Drew’s poor postseason put a sour taste in the mouths of Boston fans, but he performed above average offensively and defensively as the Red Sox’ starting shortstop last season.

“Before the qualifying offers were given out, I had a dozen different teams tell me they thought that if the qualifying offer was made to Drew that he should jump at it,” Olney said.

Napoli went through extreme ups and downs, and his propensity for strikeouts drove many crazy, but he ultimately produced a .259/.360/.482 line for Boston. However, Olney also cautioned that teams are wary of the fact that not only would a team have to meet the one-year, $14.1 million financial minimum to sign Napoli, it must also forfeit a first-round pick to the Red Sox — or a second-round pick if the team is in the top 10 of next year’s draft.

“In the end, will the fact that Mike is attached to a draft pick, is that going to be something that separates him?” Olney said. “You initially look at the teams who have protected picks — one of the 10 worst records — and I’m not seeing someone in that group, somebody who’s going to jump out there and sign someone like Napoli, and be more inclined to give up a second-round pick than having to give up a first-round pick.”

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

Read More: buster olney, Jacoby Ellsbury, jarrod saltalamacchia, John Farrell Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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