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Buster Olney on MFB: ‘Really surprised’ about Pablo Sandoval choosing Red Sox over Giants 11.24.14 at 1:53 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

With the Red Sox reportedly close to finalizing deals to land Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, ESPN’s Buster Olney checked in with the Middays with MFB crew for an update and analysis of the situation. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Olney said Sandoval appears to have chosen the Red Sox over the Giants despite similar offers.

“I was really surprised,” Olney said. “I thought that if the bidding were close, knowing Sandoval’s history with the Giants, knowing the Giants’ history of re-signing their own players, I thought that he would go back there. I thought that if any team was going to pry Sandoval away from the Giants it was going to be with a huge offer that far outweighed what San Francisco was putting on the table, and yet the offer that the Giants were talking about, which was $95 million plus the promise if Sandoval came back to them and asked for more was for something in the range of $100 million, that Sandoval just decided, apparently, that with two equal offers he wanted to go to Boston. And the Giants actually asked him in the last 24 hours, ‘Look, is there something we can do?’ And the answer they got back was no. That part of it really surprised me.

“It doesn’t necessarily surprise me that the Red Sox would be in on Hanley Ramirez, because I think once he — through his agent, Adam Katz — got it out there that he was willing to change positions, I think people looked at him very differently. Because as I mentioned earlier today, it’s a market that’s so lacking in good offensive players. Hanley Ramirez stands out, especially when you take him out of Dodger Stadium, which is a notorious pitcher’s park. You put him in other places, he can really rake.

“So for the Red Sox to land both those guys, it’s going to be a very different-looking offense than last year when it always seemed like they were bringing a knife to a gun fight.”

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Read More: buster olney, hanley ramirez, Jon Lester, Pablo Sandoval
Pedro Martinez among headliners on HOF ballot announced Monday 11.24.14 at 12:36 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez is one of the leading candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot that was announced Monday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez is one of the leading candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot that was announced Monday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Hall of Fame ballot announced Monday includes a trio of standout pitchers, including Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez, who should take headlines back from the stars who were tainted by Major League Baseball‘s steroid era.

Joining Martinez as first-time candidates are five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson, who amassed 4,875 career strikeouts (second only to Nolan Ryan), and Braves legend John Smoltz, who is the only pitcher to record 200 wins and 150 saves.

Martinez, who won two Cy Youngs, compiled a 219-100 career record with 3,154 strikeouts.

Former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra also makes his first appearance on the ballot.

Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa — all linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs — are back. Clemens and Bonds both received 35 percent of the votes last year, well below the number needed for admission. McGwire dipped to 11 percent, and he only has two more years of candidacy. Sosa fell to 7 percent last year, and if he dips below 5 percent he’ll be removed from future ballots.

Results will be announced Jan. 6. The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 26.

Read More: barry bonds, john smoltz, Nomar Garciaparra, pedro martinez
Dustin Pedroia on MFB: ‘There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people’ next season 11.05.14 at 11:31 am ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who on Tuesday was named winner of his fourth Gold Glove, checked in with Middays with MFB on Wednesday morning and said he’s feeling substantially better since having surgery on his wrist. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Pedroia had surgery on Sept. 11 to repair a tendon in his left wrist. It caused an early end to a disappointing offensive season in which he hit .278 with seven home runs and 53 RBIs. In the field, however, he continued to shine, posting a .997 fielding percentage that ranks as the best ever for a Red Sox second baseman.

“It was just frustrating,” he said of the injury that nagged him during the season. “The year before, I found a way to perform, playing nicked up. The year before it was a loose feeling — I tore that ligament in my thumb and everything just felt loose, so I was able to figure it out and let the ball travel more and just try to slap balls the other way and get hits and not try to drive the ball. This year it was more, I was restricted. I didn’t have any motion. It was so swollen and tight all year, I couldn’t get a feel of how to get through it. It was tough. I fought it all year.

“Now that it’s fixed, it’s night and day. I can already tell that. There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people, so I’m pretty excited about it.”

Added Pedroia: “I feel great. I’m back to a hundred percent. I’m doing all my lifts and everything. My rehab’s going good. I’m full strength and I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been myself. It’s going to be a lot of fun next year.”

Pedoria received a reported eight-year, $110 million contract in the middle of the 2013 season. There are critics who say the Sox overpaid for an aging player who has struggled with injuries of late.

“Honestly, I never put any pressure on me about that,” Pedroia said. “My job is to come out and win games. For what I do to try to help the team win, I don’t know how much they’re paying for that these days but I’m sure it’s a lot, and my contract’s a lot, so there’s not anybody that puts the amount of expectations to perform well than me.

“So, trust me, I don’t need anybody to get on me or anybody to say anything bad about me if I don’t play well. Trust me, I’m pretty hard on myself as it is. I don’t ever look at it like that. I view everything as wins and losses. And obviously when your team’s in last place, that’s how I view it as not good. I’d rather live up to wins and losses than anything else.”

The Red Sox went from last place in 2012 to World Series champions in 2013 back to last place last season. Pedroia is eager to get the Sox back to the top next year.

“I’m trying to do my job, and that’s get ready to help us any way I can to win games, because we’ve got to do that,” he said. “Because last year was pretty painful.”

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

Read More: Dustin Pedroia,
Clay Buchholz’s wife confirms nude photos of her were hacked 10.16.14 at 12:09 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz‘s wife confirmed reports that nude photos of her were stolen by hackers.

Talking to TMZ on Wednesday, Lindsay Clubine, a former game show model, said the photos — which were intended only for her husband — were accessed from Buchholz’s phone.

“This is a terrible crime,” she said, adding: “I have my attorneys removing the pictures. This is very upsetting to my family and I.”

She made it clear she doesn’t hold the pitcher responsible.

“Clay and I are good. I sent him pictures on the road,” she explained.

Clubine also told TMZ that some other more explicit photos making the rounds are not of her, as some have claimed.

“There are pics on his phone that [a teammate] sent some of the guys that are NOT me,” she said.

Clubine, who married Buchholz in 2009, initially vented her frustration in a tweet Tuesday, writing: A woman should be able to send her husband pics of herself with out fear of the whole world seeing them! iCloud hackers should be ashamed!!

News of the hacking scandal first broke in early September. Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and his girlfriend, model Kate Upton, were among those victimized. Some victims, such as actress Gabrielle Union, who is married to NBA star Dwyane Wade, reached out to the FBI for assistance. Clubine would not say if she planned to take a similar approach.

“We’re taking all the necessary measures,” she said.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Lindsay Clubine,
Kevin Millar on MFB: Derek Jeter ‘cannot not play’ this weekend at Fenway 09.26.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss whether Derek Jeter should play in his final series this weekend at Fenway Park. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Following Thursday’s walkoff single against the Orioles in his emotional final game at Yankee Stadium, Jeter said he will serve as designated hitter but not play shortstop when he faces the Red Sox this weekend.

Some have said Jeter should allow Thursday’s dramatics to go in the history books as his final sendoff and skip the Sox series. Millar does not agree.

“The one thing Derek knows is he’s got class. And he knows how important it is for him to play in this series,” Millar said. “I get you, it’s a great argument, it’s a great debate. Last night, storybook, you just ride off into the wind. The best thing for him would be if they won the World Series. … At the end of the day, it’s important for the fans, it’s important for the ownership of the Red Sox, it’s important for Red Sox Nation.

“It’s just, the rivalry. He cannot not play. So he’s going to do DH some, get out and they can say goodbye to him also. But that’s my point, is that: Get out there and appreciate this, because it’s over after Sunday. And then there’ll be another shortstop, they’ll go out and sign Hanley Ramirez or whoever their next generation’s going to be. … But we get a chance to see Derek Jeter, pretty cool, one of the greatest to ever play the game.”

Added Millar: “I think Jeter’s chapter he wrote, it’s already signed, sealed, delivered, that book’s closed. Now this is just a favor, a favor for the Red Sox fans and this rivalry over 20 years to play these next three days.”

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Read More: Derek Jeter, Kevin Millar,
Buster Olney on MFB: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval would be ‘really good fit’ with Red Sox 09.24.14 at 2:37 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 Derek Jeter‘s farewell tour and possible Red Sox offseason targets. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Asked about the future of promising rookie Mookie Betts, who has played center field and second base in the majors this season, Olney suggested that Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval might be a good fit for the Red Sox, and the acquisition of a player like him would affect where Betts would end up.

“I saw the Giants the last couple of nights, and there’s a lot of anticipation within that organization that someone’s going to make a run at Pablo Sandoval. That team could turn out to be the Red Sox,” Olney said. “He would fit them in a lot of regards. When I talked to some people with the Giants about that, they were nodding their heads and said, ‘You know what? He’d be a really good fit.’ Because he could play third base, and he had a good year defensively. He’s regressed toward the end of the year. You guys now, he’s had conditioning issues, he’s put on some weight during the year. But he squares up a baseball. And if you sign him to a four- or five-year deal and the first couple of years he’s playing third base, and when David Ortiz moves on he could slide into DH. He’d be a nice fit.

“And if you had Sandoval then that obviously changes the equation with Betts. So we’ll just have to wait and see what other moves they make. I think the bottom line is wherever you put Mookie Betts, he’s going to be a good player. The number that really jumps out at me is pitches per plate appearance. It’s almost 4.5. Which means even as a guy in his first days in the big leagues, he’s demonstrating that ability to work the count, to get on base, to be an on-base percentage guy. And I do think we have to remember that after the postseason last year we all thought Xander Bogaerts would come in this year and be a major star, and he’s had some growing pains. And that may be what happens with Betts. But when you talk with people on other teams, they think he’s a legitimate, high-end player who is going to be with them for a long time.”

Another option at third base could be Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, who might be available via a trade after having some defensive issues this season before being diagnosed with a season-ending stress reaction in his left foot.

“He is a guy who this year really struggled with his confidence at third,” Olney said. “It seems like he’s got what’s referred to as ‘the thing’ in terms of throwing. And I don’t think if you were the Red Sox you would acquire him with confidence that he could play third base. Now, he is a big-time power hitter. … But I do wonder, when you’re talking about someone who is dealing with a confidence issue in terms of throwing, is Boston the best place for him? That would be one of the questions that I would ask.”

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Read More: buster olney, Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts
Ben Cherington on D&C: Rusney Castillo not elite, ‘but just good in a lot of categories’ 09.18.14 at 9:47 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about Rusney Castillo and how the team plans to rebuild for 2015. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Castillo made his major league debut in Wednesday night’s 9-1 loss to the Pirates, going 1-for-4. Cherington said the outfielder isn’t the kind of player who will shine in any one area, but the overall package is one that can be of value to the team.

“Just a good major league outfielder,” Cherington said. “I think what attracted us to him through the scouting process was just that he has kind of a broad base of skills. We think he can hit, he’s got some power, he can run, he can play defense. So this is not a player that you can say is elite in any one category, but just good in a lot of categories, and the sum of that adds up to what we hope is a good player.

“I don’t know if there’s a particular player comparable, but we certainly believe he can be a very good major league outfielder and part of a good team.”

Cherington would not commit to saying Castillo is pegged to be the team’s starting center fielder for 2015.

“We just haven’t gotten that far,” Cherington said. “As you guys know, we like to have two center field-caliber outfielders on the team at any time. I think our best teams have had that. Sometimes one of those guys plays right field, and sometimes one of those guys plays center. We just don’t know what the alignment’s going to be.

“I think we feel like having Rusney along with Jackie [Bradley] and Mookie Betts and the rest of the group — but those three in particular just because of the long-term control we have on those guys — gives us a better chance to have the outfield alignment we’re looking for over the long haul.”

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Read More: ben cherington, Derek Jeter, Koji Uehara, Rusney Castillo
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