|Buster Olney on M&M: ‘The reaction around the sport is that [the Yankees] overpaid’ for Jacoby Ellsbury||12.04.13 at 2:09 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday and discussed the Yankees’ reported signing of Jacoby Ellsbury, and other free agents around MLB.
Ellsbury, according to a report by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, signed a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees on Tuesday night.
“I don’t think that the Red Sox were close, based on what I’ve heard. Basically it was communicated to them, ‘Look, we’re talking about numbers in a different ballpark,’ and I think the Red Sox all along thought that there was a good chance that that was going to happen,” Olney said.
Ellsbury’s deal mirrors Carl Crawford‘s contract with Boston in 2011, as the speedy outfielder received a seven-year, $142 million contract from the Red Sox to leave the Rays. This is now known as one of the worst contracts in baseball, considering that Boston traded Crawford after less than two injury-plagued, disappointing seasons.
“I’m sure that the Yankees look at this deal a little bit like they did the [Mark] Teixeira deal where their feeling is, ‘We know at the beginning of the deal we’ll probably get good production, we’ll hope for good production, and at the end of the deal it could get ugly,’ ” Olney said. “The reaction around the sport is that they overpaid.”
New York made its first big splash in the free agent market on Nov. 23 when the team signed catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract.
“When I heard about [the Ellsbury signing] I wasn’t really surprised,” Olney said, adding. “The Yankees brand is about winning and it’s about making the playoffs, it’s about winning the World Series. And so after the struggles they had, especially their offense in 2013, you knew there would be a response.”
|Agent B.B. Abbott: Brian McCann willing to learn first base to increase playing time||11.21.13 at 9:25 am ET|
Brian McCann has never played a position other than catcher. But that doesn’t mean he’s averse to broadening his skill set.
Agent B.B. Abbott, who represents the free agent, said that his client is open to learning how to play first base and playing some designated hitter in order to spend as much time as possible on the field. McCann is still, first and foremost, a catcher, but in an effort to spend as much time in the lineup as possible, he’s open to both serving as a designated hitter and learning to play first base — a position that he’s never played in his professional career.
“I guess there’s always a first time. [Mike] Napoli and [Buster] Posey were certainly two guys that made the transition pretty well,” Abbott said by phone on Wednesday. “I think it’s attractive that that’s an option out there for him. I think in the very near future, over the next several years, for sure, that he envisions himself being primarily a catcher and then having the ability to stay in the lineup for an additional 50-75 more plate appearances potentially in another role, whether with a National League team at first base or with an American League team at first base and/or DH. He’s in search of additional at-bats to try to maximize what value he has to a team, but I think primarily, at least in his mind, he’s a catcher. I think he certainly would not and will not foreclose any plans or any thoughts that teams might have that might be a little bit outside the box from a standpoint of what his thinking is.
“He gets it,” Abbott added. “He understands that his bat is what is the driving force behind this, but he takes pretty great pride in what he does behind the plate and he wants this to be a focus in this as well.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Buster Olney on M&M: Stephen Drew should accept Boston’s qualifying offer||11.06.13 at 4:32 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the Red Sox’ offseason and the impending free agent frenzy.
With Boston not offering catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer, many have speculated that the Red Sox and free agent Brian McCann could be a match.
“Generally speaking, I can’t see them going absolutely nutty for a 30-year-old catcher who’s going to transition to DH,” Olney said. “And if the Yankees or the Phillies or the Rangers are going to go six [years] for [$]120 [million], I don’t think the Red Sox would chase them.
“However, if there are a number of offers that are within range of each other, and the Red Sox are one of those teams, there a lot of reasons why the Red Sox would consider it,” Olney said, adding, “Just knowing Brian, he was a great team guy, he fits totally into what the Red Sox built in 2013. I do think that if he feels like he can go to a good situation, and yeah it might cost him some money, I absolutely think he’d be open-minded about that.”
If Boston signs McCann, it would almost certainly spell the end of Saltalamacchia’s four-year run with the Red Sox.
“I got to believe he’s going to be somewhere else,” said Olney, who added that Saltalamacchia’s benching in the World Series could factor into the decision. “You don’t one week go from saying, ‘You know what, we’re going to play our backup catcher,’ and then say, ‘We’ll give you $50 million.’ ”
Boston did make the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer to shortstop Stephen Drew.
“When you talk to GMs of other teams, they just cant see other teams coming close to giving Stephen Drew a $14.1 million salary that would be close to a qualify offer,” Olney said, adding, “I think in the end, the smart play for Drew is going to be to accept a one-year deal with the Red Sox, we just don’t know if that’s something that Scott [Boras] would necessarily do.”
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia takes stock of past, present while eyeing free agent future: ‘Hopefully I can be back’||11.01.13 at 2:33 pm ET|
Of course Jarrod Saltalamacchia would have preferred to be the one calling the final pitch of the 2013 season, the one who was the first to celebrate with Koji Uehara in the middle of the diamond. He wouldn’t have been human if he hadn’t harbored such a preference, or if he hadn’t thought that, after starting 120 games of the Sox’ first first 177 games at catcher, he had earned the right to be behind the plate at the end.
Still, that sentiment didn’t get in the way of his experience of the final pitch, when Uehara punched out Matt Carpenter to conclude Game 6 of the World Series.
“It was so emotional. You’re sitting there on the edge and know that Koji is going to get it done. It’s just a matter of when, and who you’re going to be out there,” said Saltalamacchia. “It’s about winning. That’s what we’re here for. We want to win. Everybody wants to be out there. There were 20 other guys or 15 other guys on the bench who wanted to be out there. At the end of the day, we want to win. I can’t say enough about Ross. He’s helped me out so much this year. I can’t ask for anybody better to go out there and take the reins the last few games. It was tough [to sit], just for the fact that I don’t know if this is going to be my last year here. [But] I took everything in and enjoyed every minute of it.”
Saltalamacchia was mindful throughout the 2013 campaign that, as of the conclusion of the World Series, he’d be a free agent. As a 28-year-old who enjoyed the best year of his career — a .273 average, .338 OBP and .466 slugging mark with 14 homers and 40 doubles (a team record for a catcher) and who, despite his postseason offensive struggles (.188/.257/.219), still guided the team’s pitching staff to a 5-4 record with an average of 3.4 runs yielded per game in his nine playoff starts — he is poised to reach the open market at an opportune time. Read the rest of this entry »
|John Farrell: Jarrod Saltalamacchia ‘would be our lead catcher right now’||02.19.13 at 2:27 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The way Red Sox manager John Farrell looks at his catching situation, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross is not a platoon situation. It’s much better.
Still, Farrell made it clear on Tuesday, two days before the Red Sox begin playing games, that Saltalamacchia is still his choice as the No. 1 catcher on the roster, with Ross providing a very capable back-up.
There has been some talk this spring that a platoon could develop with the pair, as the switch-hitting Saltalamacchia has 50 of his 64 career home runs from the left-handed side of the plate.
“The majority of his home runs came left-handed and again, I want to be careful, I’m not outlining a platoon,” Farrell said. “Salty would be our lead catcher right now. But we know that we have a very capable No. 2 guy, and I think the one thing we’ve always viewed the catching position as a two-man situation, knowing that there’s a lead guy, and that would be Salty.
“We’re fortunate to have the flexibility in the addition of Ross but I can’t see a drastic rededuction in the number of at-bats from Salty.”
Ross, meanwhile, has 54 of his 84 career homers against left-handed pitching. As for the catching duties and comfort levels between the pitchers and the Red Sox catching duo, Farrell will let that play itself out over the spring and into the season.
“I haven’t gotten to the point where he’s going to handle one guy in the five, every five-day rotation. There’ll be a natural break to it, day game after a night game. Certainly, that will come into play but if there are favorable match-ups, we’ll certainly take advantage of that.
“The one thing we knew going into this year is that David is more capable than a traditional back-up catcher, where it’s 35, 40 games. There’s more there. There isn’t a number of games earmarked or ‘X’ number of a games per week.”
“We’ll see how that unfolds, if certain guys work better because of rapport. The one thing I don’t want to create is [reliance on a single catcher]. We want all our pitchers to throw to both catchers, and don’t want that to be a reason as to not go out and perform to the best of their abilities. So, we’ll see how that unfolds and the rapport that is generated.”
Farrell made it very clear he plans to communicate frequently with his catchers to keep both fresh over the course of 162 games. Read the rest of this entry »
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