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Buster Olney on M&M: Yankees need Carlos Beltran more than Red Sox

11.20.13 at 1:40 pm ET
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ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox’ offseason, and how the Yankees are dealing with issues in their organization.

Buster Olney

Buster Olney

The Red Sox, along with the Yankees, are rumored to be pursuing Cardinals free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.

“I really think that if it comes down to a bidding war between the Red Sox and the Yankees over Beltran, I think there’s much greater need for the Yankees than there is with the Red Sox, because the Red Sox have Ortiz, they have other parts of the lineup, and there are other alternatives on the marketplace,” Olney said.

One rumored Boston suitor on the free agent market, catcher Carlos Ruiz, was re-signed by the Phillies on to a three-year, $26 contract. The Red Sox have the option of re-signing free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia or pursuing other options.

“I think if the Red Sox really wanted to sign Saltalamacchia, they would’ve put a number on the table and said, ‘Here you go,’ ” Olney said.

Olney said he thinks Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan is “a guy who’s going to be a focal point among at least three American League East teams and maybe teams in other divisions.

“He’s very highly valued for his defensive skills,” Olney said of Hanigan, who’s not a free agent this offseason. “He was a high on-base percentage guy in every year of his career leading into last year when he had some wrist problems.”

Jacoby Ellsbury remains unsigned, and one of the presumed favorites for him, Seattle, appears to be treading around him lightly.

“People you talk to say right now the Mariners are not focused on Ellsbury at all, they’re more focused on adding two power hitters,” Olney said. “If the Rangers are involved and the Mariners are involved, some of the things we’ve heard in the last week, well, then, who’s going to compete with the Red Sox for Ellsbury?”

Alex Rodriguez’s grievance hearing heated up on Wednesday when the Yankees third baseman walked out of the hearing in frustration over arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s decision to not require MLB commissioner Bud Selig to testify.

“This obviously sets up the potential for a legal challenge to the arbitration process, which just means it goes on, on and on,” Olney said.

The Bronx Bombers also have to worry about retaining their biggest star, Robinson Cano. Reportedly, the second baseman desires a $300 million deal while New York offered a seven-year, $160 million contract.

“The bottom line is that they’re not going to sit back and wait for Cano to make up his mind,” Olney said, adding: “When you have the Yankees sitting their saying, ‘You’re asking for more than [$]100 million more than what we offered, and we don’t see any other bidders, and we’re the Yankees, we’re the richest sports franchise in the world, we’re just going to go about our business, and we’ll be here when you guys are ready to talk.’ ”

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: Alex Rodriguez, buster olney, carlos beltran, Carlos Ruiz
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