ESPN's Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the shifting landscape in the American League East following the Blue Jays' agreement to acquire a number of key players from the Marlins.
Olney acknowledged that the Jays improved their roster, but he said other teams aren't panicking.
"I can't say that I'm hearing a lot of hand-wringing going on today from executives with the other American League East teams, saying, 'Wow, this is a crushing deal to us that Toronto got all these players,' because I do think that there's some open questions about [Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle]," Olney said. "Everyone looks at Reyes as, OK, he's really talented, and he has a really hard time staying on the field, that's his history. Now [the Jays] have a massive obligation in salary there. And I don't think [opposing teams] look at Buehrle as someone that they're really afraid of. And as I mentioned, so many questions about Johnson."
Added Olney: "It gives them a chance to get better. They addressed the big issue on their team, which is their rotation. But you don't walk away saying this makes them prohibitive favorites. I do think it probably pushes them into what looks like what's going to be a five-team race next year. Because it doesn't look like, whether it's the Yankees or the Red Sox or the other two teams, that there's going to be any real blockbuster moves with the four other clubs this winter."
Looking at how the AL East shapes up right now, Olney said the Sox are bringing up the rear, but there is hope.
"There's still moves to come, it's early in the offseason, but I have the Red Sox fifth as well," he said. "And I don't think there's a huge gap between five and one. I think that one or two moves and you could easily put No. 5 at No. 1. I think that's how close these teams are together.
"The Yankees right now, I can tell you, they're basically hoping that they can maintain the status quo by re-signing [Hiroki] Kuroda, re-signing [Andy] Pettitte, signing [Mariano] Rivera, maybe adding an outfielder. But there's not much beyond that. The Rays are kind of treading water. If they trade James Shields, they're going to take a hit to their pitching staff to add a little bit of offense but not a lot. The Orioles might look at someone like a Nick Swisher, but I don't think there's going to be a massive restructuring there.
"So, I do think it's basically going to be a five-team race. And I think probably among the teams left, the biggest bullets to be fired left are by the Red Sox, whether it's a [Mike] Napoli or another pitcher or two."
Added Olney: "I bet you by the time we get to spring training and the Red Sox do fire off their bullets, we're going to be looking at a complete, wide-open, five-team race."
Dr. Tony Schena joined the show to give insight into what lies ahead for Rob Gronkowski. He said a tough road is in front of the Patriots tight end.
We discuss the improbable win over the Browns and the loss of Rob Gronkowski with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday.
Ninkovich sits in with Mut and Merloni to look back at yesterday’s comeback win against the Browns. Rob also explains the range of emotions the team experienced after Rob Gronkowski suffered a potentially season ending injury.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
It's a baseball round table from the winter meetings in Orlando, Rob Bradford talks with Ian Browne, Scott Lauber, Tim Britton, and Jason Mastrodonato.
Buster joins Mut and Merloni live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Buster explains that the market for Stephen Drew has cooled off considerably and executives around the league believe he will return to Boston.
Hazen talks with Mut and Merloni about the on-going offseason process. Mike explains how the Red Sox dove in to free agency immediately after the team’s World Series win. He also explains how the team creates opportunities for young players that are ready to make the jump to the Major League level.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Our favorite segment of the week, Answer the question Kirk. Today he answered how many sexual partners he has had.
Our departing producer Thom and our new producer Craig took to the scale to see who was bigger.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed the execution of Kim Jong Un's uncle in North Korea.
Jackie MacMullan joins the show to discuss the return of Doc Rivers to Boston and what really happened during the offseason that led to Doc's departure.
Brick joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Shawn Thornton's on ice actions last week against the Penguins and what type of suspension he may be facing.
Mut and Merloni react to Doc Rivers' emotional return to Boston and they discuss the way he left the Celtics.
We debate the hit, and what Shawn Thornton deserves to get and will get for a suspension from the NHL when he faces his discipline hearing on Friday for his K/O hit of the Penguins Brooks Orpik.
We check in with Jack Edwards of NESN and focus on the Bruins, and more specifically Sean Thornton's upcoming discipline hearing for his cheap-shot hit on Brooks Orpik of the Penguins.
We focus on multi-sport athletes in today's four topics at 4PM.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
No Jenny Dell today, but Mikey's back and we're answering questions bitches!
We answer what you ask... and by we mean Salk, Holley and special guest Jenny Dell of NESN!
Answering questions, its what we do.
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Jackie MacMullan joins the show to discuss the return of Doc Rivers to Boston and what really happened during the offseason that led to Doc's departure.More from this show