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Buster Olney on MFB: Jake Peavy ‘probably on the firing line’

06.25.14 at 2:00 pm ET
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ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the state of the Red Sox and the trade market across MLB. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox continue to slide in the standings, as the team’€™s current 1-5 West Coast trip has put Boston seven games back in the race for the second wild card spot.

While the Red Sox offense (24th in baseball) has been the Achilles’ heel for the team this season, Olney said that playing in a unimpressive AL East gives the team an opportunity to get back into the playoff hunt.

“€œWe have a not seen a Red Sox offense like this in so many years. … To see [Boston] 24th and the Yankees 20th in runs scored, that’€™s incredible,”€ Olney said, adding: “The rest of the division is so mediocre to bad that it’€™s not nearly as dire as it might feel like if you’€™re watching this team play out day to day. … When I talk with people about the Yankees, they are scrambling to fill the back end of their rotation, they’ve got issue in their lineup that they’€™re not sure are going to be fixed.

“€œYou talk to people in Toronto, and they’€™re concerned about the losses of a couple of stars to injuries, they’€™re worried about the back end of their rotation. They’€™re trying to get a starting pitcher. The Orioles have had so many issues and the Rays are about ready to trade their best pitcher. There’€™s no question that where the Red Sox stand in the standings, it’€™s a deep hole, but this early it’€™s not something that they can’€™t climb out of.”€

Boston’€™s lackluster performance this season has opened up the possibility of seeing some of the franchise’€™s most promising prospects, such as Christian Vasquez and Mookie Betts, getting the call up to the big leagues. Olney agreed that a Vasquez sighting in Boston could be very likely, especially given the struggles of A.J. Pierzynski this year.

“€œI don’€™t think there’€™s any question that they’€™re front and center with the question about Vasquez. … As of today, out of all catchers in baseball with at least 200 plate appearances, [Pierzynski] is dead last in OPS at .637. … A lot of times, teams will use an off-day to evaluate the situation, to make changes, to make adjustments, they’ve got that coming up,” Olney said. “They’ve got an important series against the Yankees and if you’€™re going to call up a strong-throwing catcher, this weekend is a good weekend to do it, because the Yankees like to run — fifth in the major leagues in stolen bases.

Olney continued: “€œOn the other things, I don’€™t think there’€™s any question that Jake Peavy, with Clay Buchholz coming back, is probably on the firing line.”

While the Red Sox could look to the trade market as an avenue to upgrade their roster, such as trading for San Diego’s Seth Smith, Olney said that the prospects of acquiring an impact player do not seem likely for any team this season.

“I don’€™t think there’€™s any question that [Smith] us going to get moved and Gerardo Parra of the Arizona Diamondbacks could be a guy out there,” Olney said, adding: “When I speak to general managers and assistant general managers about the market and position players, they’€™re just shaking their heads. There’€™s going to be almost nothing out there. … I know that the Red Sox have asked questions around baseball about available hitters, but it doesn’t look like there’€™s going to be a lot of options.”

Two of the few bright spots this season have been the performances of Brandon Workman (1-0, 2.88 ERA) and Rubby De La Rosa (2-2, 2.51 ERA), who have provided a big boost to the starting rotation. Based on their work this year, Olney said that the Red Sox could trade either Peavy or Felix Doubront in order to secure spots in the rotation for both De La Rosa and Workman.

“€œI think Doubront would have some value, because right now a lot of teams are hearing the asking price on a Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs or David Price and they’€™re going, ‘€˜Wow, that’€™s really steep.’€™ … I think, if you’€™re the Red Sox right now, you’ve got to forget what’€™s on the back of the baseball card and you’ve got to talk about what the results are right now. I do think Peavy would have some value to a National League team. … That’€™s probably a good fit for him. … I do think there probably would be a deal for the Red Sox where they would eat some of Peavy’s salary, not get much in return, but on their end, they would be able to open up a spot in their rotation.”

For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: buster olney, christian vazquez, jake peavy, Red Sox
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