ESPN's Buster Olney joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday and weighed in on Saturday's blockbuster trade.
Said Olney: "Every baseball person that I spoke with -- and I wrote a column about this on Sunday. I asked them just a simple question: How do you evaluate the deal? Every single person viewed this as a blowout, tremendous victory for the Red Sox. I wrote it in the lead on Sunday. This is like baseball's version of the Herschel Walker trade. That's how it's viewed within the sport, where people are like: Are you kidding? The Dodgers had all the leverage. They're taking on these two terrible contacts along with Adrian Gonzalez -- the player that they really wanted, the Mexican-American to play in that market. Why in the world did they not tell the Red Sox, 'Forget it. We'll take the contracts, but we're not giving you any prospects at all.'
"If you were to attach a dollar value -- and I ran this past a general manager yesterday -- if you attach a dollar value to the players, really, the Dodgers, in terms of how much money you would attach to the value of having the two pitching prospects they got, it was an overpay in the estimation of one general manager I spoke with, another confirmed it, of about $100 million. So, that's how it's viewed within the sport.
"Now, from the Dodgers' perspective, I think we have to understand: They're not looking at it like a market value like you and I would look at it and like a lot of GMs would look at it. They're kind of like a billionaire who is buying a Picasso. This is what it's worth to them. And they don't really care what it's worth to you and I. And they're placing a very high value on making the postseason this year, because they're in the process of setting up these television deals, and this will only increase the value if they make the postseason."
Looking at the Red Sox' managerial situation, Olney speculated that the Sox could offer someone like Daniel Bard to the Blue Jays if they wanted John Farrell to be their manager for next season, and he explained his reasoning.
Said Olney: "I've got to believe as the Red Sox think about 2013 if they revisit the John Farrell conversation -- they thought they were close to getting something done last fall, and the Blue Jays pulled back on it. And you can't blame the Blue Jays for making that decision at that time, because they had just invested one full year in Farrell. Now they've got two full years in him. His contract runs out at the end of next year.
"If you're the Blue Jays, it's a little bit like the Red Sox with Jacoby Ellsbury -- you have an asset that's one year away from free agency. You go to John Farrell this fall and you say, 'Look, we want you to remain the manager, we'll commit to you, we'll give you a multi-year deal.' If he says no, and you know he's going to walk away at the end of next year, it makes all the sense in the world to then try to flip that asset and get something for it. So, why not ask the Red Sox -- who I'm presuming will be interested in Farrell again -- and ask them for something in return. I think a player like Bard, who's got a high ceiling, obviously, would make some sense. But that part of it, obviously, I'm speculating about."
Asked about how close the Red Sox were to landing Farrell last year, Olney said: "Yeah, I think it was close, based on what I've been told. I think it came down to that basically Toronto ownership stepped in and didn't want it to happen, because they didn't want to be viewed as -- you have that situation where they're trading their one-year manager to the Red Sox, they don't want to viewed as a farm team for another team in their division. I think that probably was part of the reason why they pulled back."
Looking at other possible managerial candidates should Bobby Valentine not be retained, Olney mentioned former major league catcher Brad Ausmus and also said Angels bench boss Mike Scioscia might become available.
"I think that's a great name to consider," Olney said of Scioscia. "There's no question that the culture within that [Angels] organization has changed in the last couple of years. … From his perspective, he probably is committed to the Angels into the future. But there's so much change going on within that organization. … If they don't make the playoffs after all the money they spent, and the fact that they're getting a Cy Young year out of Jered Weaver and they're getting an MVP year out of Mike Trout, I do think there's a chance that they may make a change."
As for the retired Tony La Russa, Olney said: "He's an interesting name and he's obviously had a lot of success. I've always thought that Tony would be more comfortable in a smaller media market. Tony doesn't back down from anything. On a daily basis, there would be times when he would be getting into it with different reporters, let's face it, with guys on the other team. … I don't know if he would be a great fit for Boston."
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