Buster Olney of ESPN joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about perspectives on Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia from outside Boston, the rest of the AL East, and the state of the Red Sox in general.
From what he’s heard from scouts, Olney said most believe Middlebrooks will be fine if he can be more patient at the plate, but that the Sox might be looking to improve their catching situation.
“From scouts, I’m hearing on Middlebrooks that he simply has to put himself in a better position when it comes to counts and not be as anxious at the plate,” Olney said. “That sounds simple, but Josh Hamilton‘s dealing with the exact same thing, where the fact that he’s anxious is something pitchers are going to take advantage of. I’m sure that that’s in the reports that are being sent back to teams, because I’m hearing it from some of the advance guys. They’re saying that [Middlebrooks] just simply is really pumped up at the plate, and he needs to reduce that level of adrenaline that he has in his at-bats and be a little bit more relaxed.
“With Saltalamacchia, I’ve heard this from executives of other teams: They say they think that the Red Sox will be looking for an upgrade at that position, possibly even before the trade deadline at some point. They feel like, given the money that they’re paying him, he’s got to perform better than how he’s been performing at the beginning of this year.
“It was an interesting moment last night where that happens — he gets interfered with by the umpire and doesn’t say a word about it. Having heard a lot of things from a lot of players through the years, [not knowing the rule] isn’t as much of a surprise to me. What’s surprising to me is that there isn’t that instinct there, where he doesn’t immediately turn around and say, ‘Hey, you hit my hand.’ I can’t say that I know every rule in the rule book, but in that situation, you say, ‘Wait a minute, you interfered with me, you bumped me.’ And you at least put your coaches and your manager — who were in the dugout and probably aren’t aware of it — in a position where they at least come out and ask the question. You do wonder where the dominoes would have fallen if they say something to the home plate umpire.”
In general, Olney said he believes the Sox players have come to trust John Farrell and his coaching staff, and that that’s reflected in they way Joel Hanrahan has responded to having to work to get his closing role back.
“He’s got a lot at stake as a prospective free agent, to step out of that role,” Olney said. “But one of the things the Red Sox have been talking about internally with their relievers is, don’t worry about role. Just worry about what you do when the phone rings. That’s exactly the conversation that’s been taking place with the Rays in recent seasons. That’s a hard thing sometimes to sell the players, but the fact that Hanrahan has bought into it and supportive of it, I think, is a great sign for where this team is.”
On the Blue Jays: “The one thing that really concerns you is the pure stuff we’re seeing out of the rotation. Is Josh Johnson going to get back to what he’s been in the past, because he certainly hasn’t looked the same for the last year and a half. Is Mark Buehrle going to be different facing American League teams than what he’s been during the course of his career? Is R.A. Dickey going to become more consistent?
“The idea of throwing together so many people for the first time — you have John Gibbons who is the manager there, yes, but it’s a whole different cast of players. How does he deal with Colby Rasmus, who’s not viewed as someone who takes instruction well? Or Brett Lawrie, Jose Bautista — right away there were questions about, is he going to talk to him about how he deals with umpires. We’ve kind of learned that when you throw a bunch of guys together like that, sometimes if takes longer than we expect, but the most important thing is they’ve got to get better stuff out of that rotation.”
On the Yankees: “Mark [Teixeira]‘s progress has been steady, but it has certainly been slower than I think maybe they had hoped initially. He is taking some swings now. The big thing with him is, if he has any kind of a setback, he’s probably going to face season-ending surgery. … Curtis Granderson‘s making a lot of progress and he could be sent out for a game sometime in the next week. I think the Yankees feel really good about their start, but I think they’re also aware of how fragile it is, considering the names that they’re throwing in the lineup every day. It’s really an amazing job where they pulled nickels out of their couch cushions to get some of these guys, and these guys are playing well.”
On the possibility of a gay baseball player coming out: “In 1993-94 I covered Billy Bean, who came out after he retired, and I talked to Billy since Jason Collins‘ announcement, and we looked back at that team and would it have been a good time [to come out]. And it’s Billy’s opinion that it would be tougher in baseball than in a lot of other sports, because of just the nature of the sport. You’re out on the field every day, there’s a lot of standing around time. The culture of it just feels different. I think the players are progressing a lot of the way society is. It mirrors society with this growing feeling of, you know what, who cares?
“For years there was fear for someone like Billy Bean to come out because of the reaction. We saw it this week: Now the fear is on the other side. If you say something about it out loud, the backlash you’re going to face is enormous. Look what happened to Mike Wallace, the wide receiver from the NFL. When he tweeted something out, he got hammered. Even if you’re not comfortable with it, it’s probably smarter to keep that to yourself. If you’re a player now, you’re not going to come out and say, ‘I’m not comfortable playing with someone who’s black. I’m not comfortable playing with someone who’s white, or is Latin.’ You’re going to shut your mouth even if you feel that way. and I think going forward, that’s how players are going to be with playing with someone who’s gay.”
Head Coach Bill Belichick with Dale and Holley
Dale, Michael and Jerry sit down with DE Chandler Jones on a Patriots Monday for a candid interview about this season, his new teammates, and the Dallas game this weekend.
We talk all things Patriots and the NFL with Tedy Bruschi.
Sam Packard is joined by his brother Nick, as he breaks down his favorite moments from Celtics Media Day. Sam then tries to compare each member of the Celtics roster to a character on The Wire, with varied results.
Sam Packard is joined by Jared Weiss of CLNSRadio.Com to talk about trading Bradley and the upcoming Celtics Media Day.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
Dave O'Brien has called Red Sox baseball games with Joe Castiglione since 2007. Dave is going to the NESN booth next season to take over for Don Orsillo as the Red Sox TV play-by-play man. Dave talks about his time with Joe and the Red Sox Radio broadcast and closes out a very meaningful chapter of a tremendous career. Joe Castiglione offers his thoughts and well-wishes to Dave and closes out, as is tradition, with the Bart Giamatti poem.
We check in for a final time this season with Red Sox interim manager Torey Luvollo as look ahead to 2016 with him.
Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart who had his first career multi home run game as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 10-4 and extend their winning streak to a season high 5 games.
DJ Bean joins Butch Stearns and Rob Bradford in studio with the pre-season ending to discuss the upcoming season's line combinations and the changes made in the offseason.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Stephen A. confronted Kevin Durant on ESPN yesterday.
Another blown call in Seattle on Monday Night Football.
Ray Lewis was on the MNF pregame show attacking Jimmy Graham's blocking abilities.
The Lions lost in a controversial ending last night on MNF. Lions Head Coach, Jim Caldwell, barely registers a pulse in his post game presser, and clearly doesn't know the rules.
Glenn, Lou and Christian dive into the DraftKings/FanDuel scandal, and talk about how competitive advantages can be gained, and what the two businesses can do to prevent it.
We look at the call in the Detroit game that may have cost them the game, and how Bill Belichick was again ahead of the curve about making ALL plays reviewable. We also focus on how Bill Belichick coached teams prepare for plays like that.
We wrap up the program with some of the best in soundbites that you may have missed throughout the day.
Dale, Michael and Jerry talk Bruins, specifically Claude Julien as we are less than 24 hours from the puck-drop for the 2015-2016 Bruins season.
Mikey, Lenny and Danny Picard are talking about how rules seemingly fall through the cracks during live games
Mikey and Lenny are talking aboutt he batted ball controversy from the Seahawks vs Lions game on Monday Night Football.
Chris Villani and John Tomase discuss Tom Brady's suspension getting overturned by Judge Richard Berman and discuss in hindsight how obvious this should have been.
Chris Price and Mike Petraglia discuss who they think are the most media friendly players in the Patriots locker room and if the Dallas Cowboys will present a challenge this Sunday.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss Sausage's pudding story, Don Orsillo and Curtis just shows up for some reason.
Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable take a look back at the 2015 season for the Boston Red Sox and their affiliates, including who the guys think should be classified as the team's Top 10 prospects. Also, a check in with play-by-play voices this year in Pawtucket, Portland, Salem, and Greenville as well as Ken's one-on-one interview with Offensive Player of the Year Sam Travis.
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