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.”
Giardi and Price discuss the mega deal that CB Josh Norman signed with Washington and if he is worth it. They also relate it to the Pats and Malcolm Butler. Does the Norman deal mean that Butler is about to cash in and will the Pats go along for the ride? This leads to a discussion on other players the Patriots need to extend very soon.
Danny Vitale, the SuperBack - a fullback/TE hybrid type - joins GIardi and Price on NFL Sunday to discuss the process of entering the NFL Draft, the combine and interviewing with various NFL teams including your New England Patriots.
With the NFL draft only a few days away, Mike and Chris preview how things are shaping for the Pats and the rest of the league. It will be a strange this year since they don't have a first round pick - how will Belichick and company approach this dilemma? Also, would the Pats contemplate the idea of trading Jimmy G?
It wouldn't be a Celtics v Hawks Game 6 preview/Game 5 breakdown without ESPN's Celtics Whisperer Chris Forsberg joining Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for some WEEI Studio magic. They discuss the Hawks' transition dominance on their mega runs and the bizarre night for Isaiah Thomas. Of course they also answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions!
The boys recap Marcus Smart and Paul Millsap's incredible battle in the Celtics' Game 4 win over the Atlanta Hawks with ESPN's Chris Forsberg. Jared Weiss and Sam Packard discussed Jared Sullinger's struggles and the reemergence of Machine Bun Kelly. They discuss inside media stuff like when to applaud for honorees and Chris' devotion to southern unsweetened tea. Of course they answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions too.
Celts beat writer Steve Bulpett is on his way to the Garden and gives Arcand a call to give his thoughts on what he expects tonight from the Green team in what is sure to be a raucous atmosphere.
Red Sox third base/infield coach Brian Butterfield joined Rob Bradford to get his take on Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw and Pablo Sandoval. Butterfield, an avid Patriots fan, also predicts who the Pats might take in the second round, while giving a very pointed message to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia after he had a two home run game, one of which was a grand slam that propelled the Red Sox to a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves
We sit down with the Skipper of the Sox, manager John Farrell joins Dale, Holley and Thornton for his weekly visit.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Lucy calls in to talk about her podcast and the "More Than Mean" tweets. The guys are now big fans.
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss what the Patriots will be looking for on the second day of the draft.
After forfeiting their 1st round pick, the Pats get to join the party and draft some new young talent. The guys look at who the team might select over the weekend.
Kirk took more shots at Glenn, Lou and Christian, so the midday show guys respond.
Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about how much money Laremy Tunsil lost when his Twitter, Instagram, and iPhone photos were hacked. The gang also addresses some ESPN on ESPN crime as Dan LeBetard took a few shots at Todd McShay.
Roger Goodell is now talking to anyone who will listen about the NFL's victory in court over Tom Brady, and it stands in stark contrast to how Brady handled his initial victory in the original arbitration case.
We look at the NFL draft and how the Patriots should handle their first round snub, as well as look at the Celtics-Hawks tonight and more on Deflategate and Roger's victory tour.
We end the Dale and Holley show with the best soundbites of the day.
It’s all about the music – the crew touches on Prince, and the greatest bands of all time
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, and MJ takes over the text line
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, plus they’re joined by Cassie, the Textress
The Revolution continue to sputter but all of a sudden Ben & Russ have switched their opinions on how they look. They also address the upcoming Copa America Centenario.
Jerry is joined by MIT's John Mayo, project manager on the revolutionary project that will change transportation - and the world - forever: The Hyperloop.
We check in for the national perspective on Tom Brady's reinstated suspension from MMQB/SI's Peter KingMore from this show
Is the fire out? The passion Patriots fans once held for this topic seems to have fizzled. We explore what the Patriots do from here, especially the first four games of the season.More from this show
The guys look at what's next for Tom Brady.More from this show
In the latest edition of the It Is What It Is podcast, Chris Price talks with ESPN's Field Yates about the Patriots and what they'll do at quarterback in the wake of the latest Deflategate ruling. Chris and Field also discuss how New England is going to approach this year's draft, as well as how the Pats stack up against the rest of the AFC East at this point of the offseason.More from this show