ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox and news from around Major League Baseball.
The Astros, who recently fired manager Brad Mills, have begun interviewing candidates for next season. Olney said it shouldn't be a concern to the Red Sox, who might look to replace Bobby Valentine this offseason.
"I don't think that the Red Sox will lose any ground because they're not interviewing the candidates who are available," Olney said. "I think ultimately, let's face it, John Farrell is probably going to be the first choice. They'll see if Toronto is going to be willing to talk about letting him go. And I think [Mike] Scioscia's going to be an interesting manager if the Angels let him go.
"And Jim Leyland would be, for me, really sort of a fascinating choice if the Tigers were to not make the playoffs and fire him. And I don't know if that's going to happen. All I do know is they spent an awful lot of money, and I can't imagine a situation where they not make the playoffs and then something doesn't happen. And I personally think that firing Jim Leyland would be silly. They've got a team that you can't necessarily win with because of the defensive issues. But if he's out there, shoot, if I'm the Red Sox, am I talking to him? Absolutely. … He is great in a clubhouse, guys. You talk about contact with players and that type of thing, he would be tremendous."
Asked about Valentine pinch-hitting for Jose Iglesias with a 2-2 count during a recent game in Toronto, Olney said he has seen such a situation happen before, although, "There's no question it's very unusual."
The Red Sox' megatrade with the Dodgers has had some time to sink in, and it hasn't gone so well for Los Angeles. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .233 with one home run and 16 RBIs in 21 games, during which time the Dodgers are 8-13.
"I don't think they're necessarily surprised," Olney said of the Dodgers' expectations for Gonzalez. "Let's face it, it's a small sample of games. They did hope that he would come in and put them over the top. They thought that he would come in and be the guy. I'm curious to spend more time with Adrian. … Because when I was there a couple of weeks ago, he did seem down. I can't tell you a reason, I can't give it to you. The one thing that I wonder about, and I'm sure you guys were aware of this, when the whole coup d'etat story broke, people were [saying] Adrian Gonzalez texted the owners, and he got some criticism, I was thinking to myself, you know what? This is one of the first times in his career when he got some criticism for something. You just hope it doesn't really sort of rob the joy he would take going to the park every day.
"But I've seen it happen before. I'll never forget how different Roberto Alomar was after the [John] Hirschbeck incident because of the fact that he got really criticized. And he never was the same, in my opinion. And I covered him at that time, on a daily basis. And that's what I wonder about Adrian. This is the first time where he really sort of got whacked publicly, whether it's fair or not. Personally I think it was him trying to be a leader. I wonder how much it's affecting him."