|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.”
New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss Jacoby Ellsbury‘s reported deal with the Yankees, as well as Robinson Cano’s free agency situation.
On Tuesday night, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that New York signed Ellsbury, the former Red Sox outfielder, to a seven-year, $153 million contract. This figure seems exorbitant considering that Ellsbury, 30, frequently has struggled to stay on the field, and his best season was in 2011.
“Jacoby Ellsbury has been on two World Series-winning teams, I love watching him play baseball, has anybody ever thought of him as being one of the top five players in baseball?” Lupica said, adding: “And now you’re paying him like one of the very best players in baseball, even though he’s three or four years past the best numbers he’s ever put in the books?”
The deal, orchestrated by agent Scott Boras, is similar to what Carl Crawford received from the Red Sox in 2010. Crawford, an outfielder who relies on his speed like Ellsbury, got seven years and $142 million from the Red Sox entering his age-30 season.
“You know that Boras came into this thinking, ‘I’m going to get him more than Carl Crawford,’ but the Carl Crawford deal is universally analyzed as one of the dumbest the Red Sox ever made in all of recorded history,” Lupica said.
After his breakout campaign in 2011, Ellsbury struggled with injuries in 2012, and, to a lesser degree, in 2013. He missed 116 games in the last two seasons. Additionally, Ellsbury missed almost all of the 2010 season.
“I’m just more mystified that you’re taking a fragile player, who depends on his legs, who played  games last year, we don’t even have to go back to where he missed [almost] a whole season,” Lupica said.
|Carl Crawford on Boston: ‘That was just a bad experience’||08.23.13 at 11:38 am ET|
Of the high-priced players the Red Sox sent to the Dodgers in last August’s megadeal, outfielder Carl Crawford has been the most outspoken since, not hesitating to let everyone know that his time in Boston was miserable.
As the Red Sox and Dodgers prepare for a weekend series at Dodger Stadium, Crawford again touched on the subject.
“That was just a bad experience,” Crawford told The Los Angeles Times. “I definitely felt like I had a chance to get a fresh start. With a team, new atmosphere, new environment. New everything.”
Crawford is hitting .289/.340/.413 with five home runs, 23 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 88 games this season, helping the Dodgers to first place in the National League West.
Looking at this weekend’s games, Crawford said: “I want to win all three games. Bad. Then on to the next series.
Both teams are in first place after disappointing 2012 campaigns, and the trade is being credited with helping both clubs.
“It was the right time for Boston, in their mind, to do something. It was the right time for us to do something,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “Both cases were dramatic.”
|Red Sox-Dodgers series preview||at 11:17 am ET|
It will be a clash between two first-place clubs and a chance to see some old friends as the Red Sox head to Los Angeles to take on the red-hot Dodgers this weekend.
Almost exactly a year ago, the Red Sox and the Dodgers completed one of the biggest trades in MLB history, with the Sox sending first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto to Los Angeles in exchange for pitching prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, first baseman James Loney and minor leaguers Ivan De Jesus and Jerry Sands. Both teams benefited from the blockbuster deal, and now both sit atop their respective divisions.
Beckett — who talked to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford about his trying last days in Boston — is done for the season after having surgery in July to relieve pressure on a nerve in his neck. The former Sox starter made only eight starts on the season, going 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA. Gonzalez has been a big part of the Dodgers’ success in 2013, putting up a .297/.346/.456 line with 26 home runs and 77 RBIs. Punto, who was only with the Red Sox for a brief few months in 2012, has benefited from more regular playing time, batting .257 with a .335 OBP in 276 plate appearances. And Crawford, who was more than ready to get out of Boston, looks revitalized, hitting .289/.340/.413 in 88 games.
“I want to win all three games. Bad,” said Crawford, who has made his feelings about his time in Boston well known. “Then on to the next series.”
The deal allowed the Red Sox to rebuild their club and become a contender this season, just a year after losing 93 games. “At the time things weren’t going well for us and we simply weren’t who we wanted to be,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “Though there were many reasons for that, we felt a significant reallocation of money might allow us to reshape the team more quickly and get us started down a different path.
“It wasn’t about the players we traded. It was simply an acknowledgment that things weren’t working.”
The blockbuster has played a part in the Dodgers’ success this year, undoubtedly. But there are many reasons why LA, a team that played .500 baseball in the first half, has become the hottest team in baseball, going 28-5 since the All-Star break. The rotation, the bullpen and the offense has begun to click and get hot at the same time, and a few additions (starter Ricky Nolasco and, most notably, rookie sensation Yasiel Puig) have sparked a talented team and made it one of the toughest clubs to beat. The Dodgers sit 9½ games ahead of the second-place Diamondbacks, their biggest lead of the season. They grabbed hold of the division lead on July 22 and haven’t looked back since, continuing to expand the gap between them and the rest of the division.
The Red Sox aren’t in a bad spot either, but the race for the AL East title is a little more competitive, to say the least. The Sox briefly lost their lead in the division, with the Rays pulling even with Boston on Tuesday, but a series win against the Giants (and a victory by the Orioles over the Rays) means that the Red Sox are alone again at the top. The series victory against the reigning World Series champs was the first series win for the Sox since taking two of three from the Astros earlier this month. The Red Sox have played .500 baseball this month, going 10-10, but they still have yet to lose more than three games in a row. They hope that the resurgence of Will Middlebrooks, the addition of top prospect Xander Bogaerts, the return of David Ross and the eventual return of Clay Buchholz can inject some life into a club that’s been unable to string wins together.
|Tom Werner on D&C: ‘Winning is the best revenge’ for Terry Francona book||05.03.13 at 9:13 am ET|
Red Sox chairman Tom Werner joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about the team’s early season success and promote Saturday morning’s Run-Walk to Home Base charity event.
Following last year’s forgettable season, the Red Sox entered 2013 with low expectations around baseball.
“I am an optimistic guy, and we certainly thought we were going to do much better than we did last year,” Werner said. “We were amused at the preseason predictions. I think there were something like 41 ESPN analysts and they had 20 predicting the Toronto Blue Jays were going to win the division and I think 18 having the Rays win the division and zero having the Red Sox winning. So, it’s certainly been a very enjoyable month. And clearly, everybody is contributing.”
Werner credits the team’s new manager as the key.
“I think John Farrell, you start with how he’s turned around this pitching staff,” Werner said. “And not just Clay [Buchholz] and Jon Lester, but the back end of the rotation, it’s been terrific.”
The Red Sox stayed away from making any major splashes in free agency this past offseason, signing less-heralded players Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Ryan Dempster to short-term deals.
“I think you guys know that we always want to win, and we have the resources to win. But you don’t necessarily win by signing those high-priced players,” Werner said. “It’s not that we cut our payroll this year. I just think we used it in a different way. We avoided the $150 million, five- or six-year contracts, the Carl Crawfords, and I think there’s another way to win.”
The turnaround comes after the ownership group was the recipient of some criticism in a book by former manager Terry Francona.
Said Werner: “Winning is the best revenge for that book, isn’t it?”
|Buster Olney on M&M: Rival GM says Red Sox would get ‘nothing’ in trade of Alfredo Aceves||04.24.13 at 1:17 pm ET|
Buster Olney of ESPN joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about what the Red Sox might do with Alfredo Aceves in light of his mounting issues, and about some of Carl Crawford‘s recent comments about his time in Boston.
Olney said he doubts the Sox would get much, if anything, by trading Aceves, more because of his attitude problems than his pitching.
“I’d be surprised, after he had that incident in spring training, if you guys remember — the live BP session in which he wasn’t giving 100 percent effort,” Olney said. “I asked one general manager, what could you get for him? And he said, ‘Nothing.’ Basically, because his reputation as a teammate is so bad. That’s not to rule out the possibility that he would go someplace else and actually pitch OK, but I think all the personality stuff we’ve seen in the last two years is going to certainly mitigate some teams’ interest in adding him while giving something up that they consider to be worthwhile.
“Maybe the best thing the Red Sox could hope for would be some degree of salary relief, and there are certainly teams out there that would take a shot at him because they’re struggling for pitching. The Angels, who are absolutely starved right now, maybe they would take a shot at him, but again, I don’t think they’re going to get anything serious in return based on what I’ve heard from rival general managers.”
Meanwhile, in a Wednesday column by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Crawford said that he’ll always carry his time in Boston with him, “because it did so much damage to the inside of me.” Before Crawford came to Boston, Olney said, there were people in the Rays organization who were concerned about his ability to move to a higher-pressure market. There also were members of the Yankees organization who had the same worries, even as the Yankees showed an interest in him.
Even so, Olney said he thinks Crawford’s attitude toward Boston since being traded to Los Angeles is more an effort to keep himself sharp than anything else.
“I think a lot of what you’re reading from Carl is him finding and developing a chip on his shoulder,” Olney said. “I was around Carl for a good number of days when he was with the Red Sox. I didn’t think he was mistreated at all. I thought he was treated great. Relative to how he was performing, yeah, he got booed a little bit. I don’t think the media was really all that tough on him. But I think that what you have is, Carl will tell you about, people back in high school didn’t believe in me, I had doubters, people wondered, and I just think this is a way to motivate himself on a daily basis. And he is a motivated guy. The guy’s getting up at 4:30, 5 every day to work out. … It’s like he’s playing ninja mind games with himself.”
|Carl Crawford: Boston media ‘worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life’||03.07.13 at 1:49 pm ET|
Carl Crawford continues to struggle to get on the field with the Dodgers, while continuing to complain about his experience with his former team. On Thursday, he took some shots at the Boston media.
“That smile turned upside down quick,” Crawford told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com of his time in Boston. “I think they want to see that in Boston. They love it when you’re miserable.
“Burying people in the media, they think that makes a person play better. That media was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
Crawford, traded to Los Angeles last August, said he’s still hoping to play Opening Day, but he’s still limited as he recovers from Tommy John surgery last season.
Meanwhile, talking about his time in Boston, he said that he realizes signing with the Red Sox was a mistake.
“It just wasn’t the right place for me at the end of my day,” he said. “I didn’t do my homework. Maybe they didn’t, either.
“At the end of the day, it just wasn’t the place for me.”
Crawford’s numbers took a dramatic decline during his injury-plagued 1½ seasons in Boston, but he’s convinced he can bounce back now that he has “that free-spirit feel” he used to have when he played for the Rays.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot of baseball left,” he said. “But over there [in Boston] I felt like my career was almost over.”
Crawford acknowledged that his performance was worthy of criticism in Boston.
“I get it, I didn’t perform,” he said. “I got the money. I didn’t perform. I gave them every reason.”
That said, he complained that the criticism was too much.
“I took so much of a beating in Boston, I don’t think anything could bother me anymore,” he said. “They can say what they want — that I’m the worst free agent ever — and it won’t get to me. But it bothered me the whole time there.
“Look how they treat [John] Lackey. Adrian [Gonzalez] hit 30 home runs [actually 27], and they talked about him not hitting home runs.”
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