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Buster Olney on MFB: ‘A little scary’ that Red Sox are so reliant on David Ortiz 09.17.14 at 12:59 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox‘ prospects for next season and other baseball news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

David Ortiz recently talked to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford about how he feels he proved his worth this season after being disrespected last offseason. Olney said he understands Ortiz’s feelings, but he also appreciates that the Red Sox can’t go overboard to keep the aging slugger happy, despite his solid production.

“He was tremendous. He certainly I think added to numbers that are already Hall of Fame-worthy,” Olney said. “But in some respects it’s got to be a little scary for the Red Sox, because I kept on hearing from people with other teams, they’re like, ‘You know, David Ortiz is great, but when you’re in a position where the Red Sox are and you have a player in his late 30s who’s your best offensive players, that’s a little scary. And you don’t want to be out on that ledge. The fact that they were so reliant on him this year, where it felt like if Ortiz didn’t hit they really didn’t have much around him, it probably is an impetus for the Red Sox to go out and make some improvements. He was great, there’s no question about it.

“And I know that part of [his attitude] is related to David’s feeling about the contract and was it handled right. The bottom line is, is that where we are in 2014 is that designated hitters, like closers, do not get huge dollars. That’s part of the reason why — and age has a lot to do with it — why the Red Sox are never going to go way out on a long-term contract on a player in that position.”

Asked what was the key to the Sox’ struggles this season, Olney said: “Offense. Taking a big step back. AJ. Pierzynski was supposed to be more than what he was, it just didn’t work out. They clearly didn’t get as much out of [Xander] Bogaerts than they thought they would. Jackie Bradley Jr. wasn’t close to being what they thought he would. And I know Jacoby Ellsbury hasn’t had a huge season with the Yankees, but he’s a much better offensive players than Jackie Bradley Jr. was, and they never made up for what Jackie couldn’t do. And that’s been a problem all year for the Red Sox.”

Olney said it’s not unreasonable to think the Red Sox could return to the top next season, pulling off another worst-to-first, especially when looking at issues the rest of the American League East teams have.

“I do think if [Rusney] Castillo makes an impact for the Red Sox next year, if you see Bogaerts bounce back, if Mookie Betts is a great player for them all season and if they get one rotation anchor, then yeah, you could absolutely see the Red Sox bounce back,” Olney said.

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

Read More: buster olney, David Ortiz, jackie bradley jr.,
Red Sox chairman Tom Werner on D&C: ‘We’ve got a lot of money to spend and we’re determined to go into the free agent market and improve the team’ 09.11.14 at 10:01 am ET
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Red Sox chairman Tom Werner joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning and promised that ownership has “a lot of money to spend” and is “determined” to restore the team to competitiveness after the disastrous 2014 season is over. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“Last year, as we all know, was just a dream. This year is a nightmare,” Werner said. “It’s been painful. I was at the game yesterday and it was just not a good experience for the fans, it wasn’t a good experience for the players, it wasn’t a good experience for me. The only thing I can take from it is we are determined to get back to being in first next year. But this has really been a nightmare this year.”

Werner assured that ownership will spend the money needed to help return to the team to the top.

“This is the first year that we have not been competitive around Labor Day,” he said. “The one thing that I think that trade that we made with the Dodgers [in 2013] gave us was extreme flexibility. We know we have to add some front-line talent. We spent some time over the last few weeks talking about exactly what we can do to improve. I think that our trades at the end of July attacked the fact that we had a lack of offense. I think [Yoenis] Cespedes is a key player for us going forward. I think our signing of [Rusney] Castillo is good. But we know we need some front-line pitching talent.

“I wouldn’t say that we have limitless money, but we’ve got a lot of money to spend and we’re determined to go into the free agent market and improve the team.”

Asked what can be learned from this season, Werner pointed to the failures of the rookies.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s very difficult to repeat, but I think that we probably put a bit more stock in our younger players performing at the level we expected them to,” he said. “I know it’s always difficult to break a few rookies into your lineup. And we certainly didn’t get the offense all through the lineup that we expected this year, except for a couple of key players like David Ortiz. The players underperformed.

“That doesn’t mean that I don’t see encouraging signs. I see that [Xander] Bogaerts, the last couple of weeks I was just reading he’s batting about .360, Mookie Betts has certainly shown signs of being a terrific major league player, and Brock Holt. But I think we probably put too much stock in the replacements that we expected to come out and perform.”

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Tom Werner recounts his brush with death during Sept. 11 attacks: ‘A painful day for me’ 09.11.14 at 9:07 am ET
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Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, during his Thursday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan, recounted his brush with death on the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“Today is sort of a painful day for me,” Werner said. “I was on Flight 11 [the Los Angeles-bound plane that was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center] for almost until the last minute — I changed my flight plan the night before. And I knew people who passed away in the World Trade Center. Every September 11th I kind of wake up in the morning and just think about that horrible, horrible day.”

Werner explained that his then-girlfriend, popular television morning-show host Katie Couric, played a key role in his decision to alter his travel plans.

“She asked me to come down to New York the night before,” Werner recalled. “I actually was up here [in Boston] negotiating to acquire the Red Sox with a group of other people, and our negotiating session ended on September 10th early. So I asked her to meet me in New York, and I flew out on the first flight on September 11th [from New York].

“I was just talking to my daughter this morning — they didn’t know I was in New York that night, so they thought I was on that first flight out of Boston on the 11th. It was just a horrible, horrible day. I think they thought I passed away on that terrible tragedy, the first few hours.”

Check the Full Count blog later for more from the Werner interview.

Read More: Katie Couric, Tom Werner,
John Farrell on MFB: ‘Probably likely’ Dustin Pedroia inactive for remainder of season 09.10.14 at 11:01 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell, making his weekly WEEI appearance Wednesday, told Middays with MFB that Dustin Pedroia is “probably likely” to miss the rest of the season due to an injury to his left hand/wrist. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Pedroia, in the midst of a subpar offensive season (.278/.337/.376), had an MRI on Tuesday that revealed inflammation in the wrist. The 30-year-old was scheduled to meet with team representatives Wednesday to determine a course of action.

“Nothing has been arranged as far as surgery,” Farrell said. “Information is still being gathered. There’s not been a final, like I said, target date or decision in this way. It’s pointing towards him having the procedure done. So, whether or not he remains inactive — it’s probably likely he is inactive the rest of the way.

This injury is the latest in a series of issues with Pedroia’s hands. He had surgery on his left thumb last offseason.

“Let’s face it, he’s had a number of collisions, headfirst slides, a number of things that have affected the hands, and he’s dealing with it in the left hand right now,” Farrell said. “We look at it like, if this procedure is needed, which, the initial reports — and let’s face it, surgery is always something you have to be concerned with, but … the severity of it is not like a high-risk situation with him.

“So, we look at it like if there’s a chance to get an additional two weeks of recovery time so he can get into some strength training throughout the winter and go through a normal offseason workout program as he gets into later November and beyond, that’s probably the avenue chosen here.

“What Dustin means to us is obvious. This is the heartbeat of our team, and we’ve got to get him back to 100 percent as soon as we can.”

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, John Farrell, Koji Uehara
Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘I don’t think you give up on a Will Middlebrooks’ 09.05.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network’s Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the Red Sox following Thursday’s disappointing loss to the Yankees. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

In Thursday’s game, Sox closer Koji Uehara continued to struggle, allowing a pair of solo home runs in the ninth inning as New York walked off with a 5-4 decision. There has been discussion that the team might shut down Uehara and let him rest up for next season.

“There’s nothing to lose now,” Millar said. “It’s kind of an odd season, guys, let’s get it straight. From last place, first place, last place. You’ve got things to address, go ahead and address them. He’s given up big-time home runs this year; last year he was invincible. It’s pretty funny how the years are different. Everything went right last year and now he’s in the scuffle mode. I’m a big fan of Koji, but he’s had a tough time getting some outs late in the game.”

The Red Sox have expressed an interested in having Will Middlebrooks play winter league in order to be better prepared for next season. It’s not clear that Middlebrooks is on board with that idea, but Millar supports it.

“He’s still got to look in the mirror and say, ‘Listen, I’ve got to get something done. I’ve got to get something right.’ Whether that’s your swing, whether that’s your defense, whatever you’ve got to work on,” Millar said. “I think winter ball’s great. I played it a lot. I played it everywhere but Venezuela. It gives you the chance to basically get that confidence back. Because you see the talent, you see the ceiling. This is a guy, if he hits 25-30 home runs at some point in his career it wouldn’t shock you. But he hasn’t produced. He produced his first three, four months up in the big leagues, and got everybody fired up. But it’s been a struggle-bunny since. So I think winter ball’s a great call.”

Added Millar: “I don’t think you give up on a Will Middlebrooks. I like the size, I like the talent I see. ‘€¦ I don’t think you give up on a kid, because corner guys, right-handed power right now, aren’t out there. Will hasn’t shown a whole lot of consistency at this level, but you also understand if something clicks he can become a guy that’s above average to a star. And it wouldn’t shock you, would it? We’ve seen a little bit of it.”

There has been some speculation that the Red Sox might considering trading Dustin Pedroia as part of their move to a younger lineup.

“No, you don’t trade Dustin Pedroia. You don’t even mention trading Dustin Pedroia,” Millar said, adding: “I’m not saying he’s untouchable, but he’s your makeup of the club. So if he has an off year this year, yeah, OK, now we’re going to trade Dustin Pedroia? He’s the only makeup and the grit and everything about the Red Sox.”

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

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Millar, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks
Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen on D&C: ‘We know we have some redundancies in some areas,’ including crowded outfield 09.04.14 at 9:47 am ET
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Mike Hazen

Mike Hazen

Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the future of the team and other news. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Red Sox recently signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, but Mookie Betts has shown promise with his play in center field of late. That’s led to questions about what the outfield will look like next season.

“We have a long offseason to go. ‘€¦ I think both Castillo and Betts, I see them on the team. What position they’re playing, who’s in the lineup, how it all shakes out, we have a long way to go in this offseason,” Hazen said.

“I think what we’ve tried to do as we’ve moved through the trading deadline and into the rest of the regular season was to acquire or amass as many really good major league players as we could. We know we have some redundancies in some areas, we have some holes in other areas that need to be plugged. And there’s two ways we’re going to plug those holes. We’re going to do it with money in the free agent market, and we’re going to be able to do it via trade, having good major league players, not just minor league players to trade. We may trade some minor league guys as well, but having those good, established major league hitters — a lot of these guys that have power, which is a commodity in the game, set us up fairly well in a strong position at least.

“I know trades are tough to pull off no matter what you’re dealing with because you need two to tango on this. But we’re going to be in a pretty good position we think going into the offseason given the assets and the players that we have both on the roster and in the minor leagues, and the financial resources that we have coming off the books currently to be able to fill the holes that we need to fill.”

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, mike hazen, mookie betts, Rusney Castillo
Buster Olney on MFB: Red Sox expect renewed commitment from Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks 09.03.14 at 1:18 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss the future of the Red Sox as the team’s miserable season moves into its final month. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox and Yankees are in the midst of a series in Yankee Stadium, and Olney noted that you’d have to go back to the days of Babe Ruth (during one of his rare off seasons) to find a time when both teams were ranked so low in offense.

“We’re closing in on a century since we’ve seen these two teams struggle this much offensively,” Olney said. “As you guys know, the Red Sox are always typically a good offensive team, the Yankees usually have their share of left-handed hitters who thrive in their home park. It just hasn’t been the case this year. It’s been a completely aberrational year.

“And as they play tonight, I was talking to a person within the Yankees organization today, they feel like they’re at the tipping point. The question is whether or not the Red Sox are going to shove them over the edge.

Rusney Castillo started playing in the Red Sox minor league system last week, and he’s moving up to Double-A this week. Olney said he isn’t sure if the Cuban outfielder will make an appearance at Fenway before the season is over.

“I think they should, because they think he’s going to be part of the team next year, and why not?” Olney said. “I know, for example, a lot of teams are doing that these days. The Cubs are doing it with Javier Baez, they’re doing with with Jorge Soler. … If I were the Red Sox, sure. Because you’re not going to pay a guy $72 million unless you think he’s ready to translate right away. So, why not? It’s a signed, sealed deal, so the arbitration clause doesn’t come into it, you might as well throw him into the deep end of the pool.”

Jackie Bradley Jr., who was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 17, is expected to return to Boston for the last few weeks of the season, although his offensive struggles have continued with the PawSox.

“[A return] would make sense,” Olney said. “And if they don’t, then let’s face it, it would have to be taken as punitive. It would have to be taken as a sign from the Red Sox organization that they want Jackie to focus more on making adjustments. That’s the big question now about him within the Red Sox organization: Will he make adjustments? Because I know that during the course of the year when he was approached about that, his response was, ‘Look, I’m fine. I’ll work my way through it. I feel good.’

“Now that we’re near the end of the season, they feel like that just wasn’t done in the way that it should have been done. And they’re going to want him to do that going into next year, and they’re going to want to have him respond. And given the fact that they have this volume of outfielders, I really think next spring is going to be absolutely huge for him.

“And this winter’s going to be huge — I was going to bring this up, too — for Will Middlebrooks. I know that there is desire within the Red Sox organization that Middlebrooks go and play winter ball to get more at-bats, to get more experience and to turn the corner. And if he doesn’t, then I think there’s a good chance he’s going to spend next year in the minor leagues. They don’t want to give him away. And I heard this from a couple of different teams, that when they approach the Red Sox, the Red Sox know that they have a really talented guy in Middlebrooks who hits for power, but they want to give it every opportunity for that to happen with them, because they know if they trade him now it’s essentially going to be at a cut rate, and it’s not going to be at what they believe his value to be. So if he’s going to be in the big leagues next year I think winter ball is going to be a big part of it, and a good spring training would have to be a big part of it.”

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Read More: buster olney, giancarlo stanton, jackie bradley jr., Rusney Castillo
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