ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney made his weekly appearance with the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about Red Sox news involving Kevin Youkilis, Aaron Cook and Oil Can Boyd.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks has been tearing it up in the minors, but until the Sox decide what to do with the injury-plagued Youkilis, Middlebrooks might have trouble finding enough at-bats in Boston. Olney was asked what the market would look like if the Red Sox considered trading Youkilis.
"They have been exploring it, I think in the past. I'm not saying that they're aggressively there looking to dump his contract, but I think they're aware of potential interest," Olney said. "And I can tell you this for a fact: There are teams -- and I've spoken with evaluators of other teams -- as soon as Youkilis leaves the Red Sox, whether it's as a free agent at the end of this year or if they're willing to eat a lot of the money in this year's deal, there's going to be a lot of interest in him. Because people like his approach in his at-bats, they think he's a guy who doesn't give up at-bats, and they think that he's a guy that you can teach young players with, having on the team. So, there's no question that there will be interest. But I do think they probably couldn't expect that much in return for him because of his level of salary."
Cook, a 33-year-old right-hander who pitched 10 seasons for the Rockies, appears headed to Boston after a solid stint in the minors.
"He's an experienced guy who's known as a tough competitor, and I'm sure the Red Sox are going want to throw him out there and see what they see," Olney said, noting that some scouts have questioned whether Cook's sinker will be good enough against the offensive powerhouses in the American League East.
Olney conducted an interview with Boyd, the former Red Sox pitcher, that aired on ESPN Tuesday. In the interview, Boyd claims to have used crack cocaine every day of the 1986 season.
"I was really impressed with his honesty," Olney said. "I really liked him. And I came away from that absolutely heartfelt toward him in terms of his life experience. We talked a lot, and there was a lot in the piece about growing up in Mississippi in a segregated town, and I think that has had an incredible impact on his life view. And I must say that because of some of his answers there it was probably the most difficult interview that I've ever had in my life in terms of maintaining my own composure, because I felt so bad for him."
Added Olney: "It's a complicated situation for him, and I've never spoken to someone I think who was in as much pain from his life experiences as Oil Can is."
To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page . For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox .