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Buster Olney on MFB: ‘I haven’t understood’ Red Sox’ decision to move Xander Bogaerts’ position

06.04.14 at 1:58 pm ET
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ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the drama surrounding David Price and the Red Sox, the switch from shortstop to third base for Xander Bogaerts and the struggles of the Boston outfield. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Punishments have been levied in regards to Friday’s game between the Red Sox and Rays. Sox starter Brandon Workman was suspended six games for throwing  behind Rays third baseman Evan Longoria while Price, who hit David Ortiz and Mike Carp, received no discipline.

“€œIt didn’t surprise me, because of how the umpires handled the game,” Olney said, adding: “The umpires in the field didn’t eject David Price, and they didn’t eject him after the fourth-inning incident in which he hit Carp, so based on that information, it doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t suspend him.

“I think that if they really want to be aggressive and vigilant and try to curb some of this stuff, I agree with what John Farrell said the other day after the game, that, ‘Hey, the umpires clearly read intent into what Price did, why not eject him at the beginning?’ I think that would be a stop to a lot of stuff.”

The Red Sox outfield has struggled all season long, as the unit has a combined .214 batting average on the year. Despite the lack of production, Olney said that a potential addition via the trade market might not provide much of a boost for the club.

“They’re going to have to wait in all likelihood, because the market is going to take a while to declare itself,” Olney said, continuing: “€œEven if the Red Sox at some point decide the answers are not in-house and they want to go out on the market, it’s going to take a while for the interest to come up, and they’re probably not going to be very good ones.”

The return of Stephen Drew has had a big effect on Bogaerts, who is making the switch from shortstop to third base — a move Olney does not necessarily agree with.

“If they feel like, internally, that he’€™s the shortstop, and that’s basically what we heard from January, February, March on forward, to be honest, I don’t know why they didn’t leave him there in the first place.

“I know that he hasn’t necessarily been at his best defensively and he’s been a work in progress, but since you pretty much know that Stephen Drew is going to be a temp, why not just leave Xander Bogarts and make Drew make the adjustments? I haven’€™t understood that from the beginning.”

The arrival of Drew also creates problems for Brock Holt, who is one of Boston’€™s hottest hitters with a .355 batting average over the last seven games. In order to continue to find a way to slot him into the Boston lineup, the idea of placing Holt into the outfield has been labeled as a possibility.

“€œI’ve never seen him play the outfield, but there’s no doubt that that’€™s a natural question to ask at this point to try and find him a way to get him at-bats, without a doubt,” Olney said. “I don’t know exactly what the Red Sox feel about him in terms of whether or not he can hold a position, but it is complicated by the fact that they’ve got the toughest right field in baseball in Fenway.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On the Jon Lester contract situation: “If you look at how [the Red Sox] are handling this, it so closely mirrors what happened with the Phillies and Cole Hamels. It’s almost like they’re reading from the same playbook. … At some point this year, if the Red Sox drag their feet on this thing, Lester and his representatives are going to say, ‘€˜You know what, we’€™re only about 20 starts from free agency and being in an open market when we can involve the Dodgers and maybe the Yankees. … That’€™s where we’€™re going to go.’ ”

On whether the Red Sox will think about trading Stephen Drew: “There would certainly be interest in him, but I don’t think they would necessarily get return for the dollars that they spent. They would probably have to eat some of that $10 million salary that they committed to him for the year. … I think it’s probably better if they just ride it out and have him be part of solution and part of the depth.”

On the performance of the division-leading Blue Jays this season: “They’re killing the ball, that’s what it comes down to. They remind me, when you watch them play, of the Red Sox from last year. They’re having a ton of fun together, they got a bunch of guys in this circular lineup who are doing a lot of damage. … Their starting rotation ERA is the best in the American League East, I don’t think anyone saw that coming.”

Read More: buster olney, David Price, Red Sox, xander bogaerts
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