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Buster Olney on MFB: Dustin Pedroia ‘may wear down faster than other guys’ due to his ‘maximum effort’ play

07.23.14 at 2:10 pm ET
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ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest trade deadline news, Dustin Pedroia‘s struggles and Boston’s upcoming series against the Rays. To listen to the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox‘ current 8-2 run has complicated matters for Ben Cherington and Co. Boston is 8 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East, but with the next 11 games scheduled against AL East opponents the Red Sox have a great opportunity to quickly gain ground before the July 31 trade deadline.

Olney said that even though the Red Sox could insert themselves back into a playoff race, he still could see the team parting ways with players such as Jake Peavy and Jonny Gomes.

“I think that they have enough depth where they could serve both interests,” Olney said. “They could say, ‘Look, we’re still trying to compete this year, and at the same time, we can begin to turn over the roster a little bit.’ … We know that Peavy has a past relationship with [Giants manager] Bruce Bochy with the San Diego Padres. He’d be a great fit [in San Francisco.] The Red Sox clearly have internal options where if they traded Peavy, they could have other guys step in.

“The reason why a deal with the Cardinals didn’t happen was because the expectations of the two sides were different. The Cardinals basically were telling them, ‘Look, we’ll take on the salary but we’re not going to give you anything in the way of a prospect,’ where the Red Sox were hoping for something a little bit more. … I think Jonny is kind of in the same boat, depending on what they want to do with their young outfielders. Do they want to use the last two months and ensure the fact that they’re going to give those guys playing time down the stretch and begin to not only try to win this year but focus ahead for next year.”

The Red Sox will travel to Tropicana Field to take on the Rays for a three-game set this weekend, as both teams look to chip away at the division standings with July drawing to a close. Olney said that fighting for a playoff spot likely will remain the main focus for both teams during the series, rather than the personal feud between David Ortiz and David Price, stemming from the last time the teams played on May 30- June 1.

“The Rays right now are in a position where every out in every game means something,” Olney said. “I mean, they’re literally hanging on the fence on what to do in terms of whether or not to trade David Price. … They’re 24-11 since June 10, so I tend to think that this thing will be deferred. Now, are there hard feelings still there? Absolutely. But I don’t think this is going to be the time or place. That said, I didn’t think it was the time or the place for the whole thing to flare up the last time.”

Pedroia is in the midst of his worst season at the plate, as the Sox second baseman is hitting .269/.338/.364 with just four home runs and is mired in an 0-for-17 slide over the last five games. Olney acknowledged that rival teams have noted that Pedroia’s long-term future in the league could be shortened due to his all-out mentality on the diamond.

“He’s like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and players like that,” Olney said. “People with other teams love him and they want him to do well and when they see him play this year, they cringe and they’re concerned. Because they see a guy who goes out, plays hard every day, and they assume that he plays through injuries, and the other part of it is that they see someone who plays with maximum effort all the time and they worry about him wearing down. … Eventually, he may wear down faster than other guys because of those dynamics. … Nothing is going to come easy for him, and if he’s playing along those lines, this is what I’m hearing from rival evaluators, they think that he may have a shorter shelf life than other guys who may cut themselves a break and drift a little bit.”

While closer Koji Uehara remains a candidate to be dealt if the Red Sox struggle in the coming weeks, Olney said that he expects the reliever to remain with the team past the trade deadline.

“I don’t think he gets dealt before the deadline. You can’t be in the Red Sox’ position where you’re certainly not so far out that you have no hope. You’re close enough that you at least have some hope, especially given how well they’ve played. What kind of messages do you send to fans who bought tickets for the last two months and paid out their money. That would be a difficult thing for them to do, because obviously if you trade Koji, that’s a white flag, and that would be really, really tough to sell the fans.”

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

Read More: buster olney, Dustin Pedroia, Koji Uehara, Red Sox
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