ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni to discuss many things that have been plaguing the Red Sox lately, most notably whether to move Daniel Bard to the bullpen, who to try to trade for to fill any holes and who to blame for the team's early struggles.
No issue, however, was more pressing for Olney than the news that Carl Crawford will visit the renowned Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on his ailing left elbow that has kept him sidelined throughout the 2012 season. Olney said Crawford's elbow is a serious matter that still has a ways to go before getting better.
"Talking with sources this morning, they basically said that if he has any kind of a throw beyond flipping the ball, it really hurt his elbow," Olney said. "It doesn’t hurt him when he hits, it doesn’t hurt him when he does other stuff, but he can’t throw a baseball.
"It will be interesting to see what exactly Andrews says. I know Carl’s felt a little better about his elbow in recent days, but the bottom line is he’s not close to being ready to play. We’ll have to wait and see. It’s certainly ominous when you go and see a Dr. Andrews, but when you have pain when you make any attempt to throw a baseball over 15 feet."
Olney previously released an article on ESPN.com in which he assessed blame on the slow start of the Red Sox, and much of it did not have anything to do with two figures of intense criticism -- manager Bobby Valentine and general manager Ben Cherington. For Olney, many of the team's problems were in place before the current administration took charge.
"Here’s the thing on Ben -- he’s basically made two significant moves," Olney said. "One was on Andrew Bailey, who got hurt, and the other was on Mark Melancon. When he did it, there were concerns because of Melancon’s history with the Yankees and whether or not he would be a good fit with the team.
"With Bobby, over the weekend when he was getting booed, you could see the fans really reacting badly to him and he’s certainly made mistakes. But ultimately, they’re probably four or five pitchers short, and that’s not really on him."
When asked about the clubhouse environment, another topic of consistent speculation, Olney noted that there are still some unresolved issues and that with a new manager, there could very well be changes coming soon.
"I still think that within that clubhouse it’s still a work in progress," Olney said. "I covered Bobby in ’97 and he used that beginning of the season to break down the roster and get guys out of there that he didn’t want on the team and to go to guys that he did want on the team. I think that’s what we’re right in the middle of right now."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On whether Red Sox management has likely talked to Daniel Bard about moving to the bullpen: "Not to this point. I thought Daniel’s comments this week were kind of a shot across the bow. He had done everything that the Red Sox had asked him since he joined this organization. He was told last fall after he talked to them about making the transition into the rotation, ‘OK this is what you’ve got to do,’ and he did it and he won his spot. The general manager of the team came out 10 days ago and basically indicated, ‘Look, he’s going to remain in the rotation.’ Then they lose a couple of games, the city’s booing the manager and all of a sudden there’s talk about him being moved back into the bullpen. I do think this is potentially a problem area. They’ve got to be careful about jerking the guy around, about not allowing him to get into a routine and do his preparation. I think he’s earned the right to start and moving him to the bullpen isn’t going to fix the fact that they need three or four or five other pitchers."
On people to possibly trade for to fix the team's woes: "Grant Balfour of the Oakland Athletics. You can call them now and trade for him. He’s off to a really good start, he’s 34 years old, he’s pitched in the American League East, so he knows the division. And he’s got something else that makes him really attractive -- he’s got a $4.5 million option for next year beyond the $4 million he makes this year. That’s a very affordable option in line with what relievers are being paid. He could close, which is what he’s doing for Oakland right now. There’s probably a couple of other lesser guys, but I think in terms of being able to make a deal right now who could help you in that division, but Balfour’s probably the best guy."
On Clay Buchholz' struggles: "The questions started Saturday. I talked to scouts who were at that game and their big question was, ‘Hey, how come he can’t get the ball down?’ We know that in 2010, when John Farrell remade him, it was about keeping the ball down, pitching contact, getting some easy ground balls. The other day he could not get the ball down."
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Rob Bradford is joined by Tom Caron, the man responsible for guiding the ship when it comes to Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, along with various other important duties with the New England Sports Network, including offering the play-by-play for both TV and radio throughout spring training. Tom and Rob discuss a variety of topics, such as nickname conundrums, radio vs. television, criticizing the team, behind-the-scenes for the broadcasts and where the industry is going.
Rob Bradford is joined by two-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin, who is attempting a comeback with the Red Sox this spring. Quentin's path back to baseball involves almost quitting the game less than a year ago, losing 40 pounds and trying to sell himself to general managers all over Major League Baseball. Quentin explains his journey, which has led him to the back fields at JetBlue Park.
Rob Bradford catches up with Clay Buchholz to discuss the former Red Sox pitcher's new lot in life with the Phillies, while reflecting on his up and down tenure in Boston. Philadelphia general manager Matt Klentak also joins the podcast to discuss his team's pursuit of Buchholz.
Hour 4. Albert from RI battles Alex, who is actually Tomase, over racism in Boston. Kirk says he has great gaydar, proving it by identifying who is gay at the station. A high school coach in Washington put his hot dog in a bun.
Hour 3. Tomase reiterates that white people cannot speak on racism in Boston. Tomase thinks Bomani Jones may have a better perspective than Kirk and Gerry.
Hour 2. Kirk, Gerry, and Tomase discuss the ongoing Hernandez trial. Headlines features Ellen’s finger injury. Tomase says that getting mad at Bomani Jones for calling Boston racist means you’re racist.
HOUR 4 - The guys get into more talk about the negative ramifications of LaVar Ball's antics, and whether NBA teams will be hesitant to draft Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo. Also, the argue whether or not trading Isaiah Thomas is an option.
The No Fun League will be posting a "Do's and Don'ts" video to help NFL players prevent themselves from getting flagged for excessive penalties. Another Cleveland journalists says the Browns will make a run at Jimmy G next week at the NFL owners meetings. LeBron James fires back at LaVar Ball.
HOUR 2 - The ESPN talking heads think that Colin Kaepernick is getting blackballed. The guys talk about the type of team that he COULD thrive on. Jason Whitlock compares Kaep to a former Patriot QB.
With so much legal stuff swirling around New England sports right now, Dale, Michael and Rich spoke to Michael McCann, law professor at UNH to get his insight to it all.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss the Bruins on the heels of a bad loss at home to the Senators.
So the Patriots knew all along that Aaron Hernandez was murdering people and still gave him a contract extension? That's what some folks would like you to believe. Dale, Michael and RIch Keefe delve in to the Hernandez talk to dissect what's real from what's BS
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
SI's Richard Deitsch returns to the podcast to talk with Kirk about the K&C casting couch, how ESPN wimps out when they are called out for slander, what's going on with Bill Simmons, and the rise of podcasting.
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Rich Keefe & Ryan Davey rank the Quentin Tarantino movies and discuss how they all connect in the Tarantino-verse. Plus "This Week in #DORK," "Davey's Video Game Minute," "Pick of the Podcast," and "Black Panther Reads iTunes Reviews."
Ken Laird & Chris Curtis recap a Wednesday K&C with John Tomase back in for the first time in several months to discuss Boston’s reputation of race among other items.
Uncle Buck, George, and Nick "Fitzy" Stevens talk about Boston Sports Movies, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Hour 1. Alex Reimer joins Gerry and Kirk the morning after Kirk’s epic Early Edition. Kirk gave quite a performance on Comcast and says he’s officially done with TV. Gerry is in a bad mood because of the A-hole tournament. Jared Carrabis took down Pete Abraham in a blog on Barstool.More from this show
Hour 4. Kirk said goodbye to Comcast on Monday night. It was great television.More from this show
Hour 2. Kirk, Gerry, and Tomase discuss the ongoing Hernandez trial. Headlines features Ellen’s finger injury. Tomase says that getting mad at Bomani Jones for calling Boston racist means you’re racist.More from this show
Hour 3. Pete Abraham tried to defend himself on Brand X. Pete’s explanation for calling “Brad T” the grand wizard was embarrassing. Gerry, Kirk, and Alex argue about Kaepernick and whether or not the national anthem is important.More from this show
Hour 2. Brady’s jersey was found in Mexico. In Headlines, Gerry is angry at Chelsea Handler for a tweet. Ken Laird says he’s worried the Bruins won’t make the playoffs.More from this show