Olney’s Latest: Red Sox, Fielder, Cubs, Mariners

In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote about how Daniel Bard's potential transition to rotation could turn the Red Sox's staff from a question mark into a strength. He says they will look to add a starter or two via free agency as the asking prices drop, and notes that the Yankees are taking a similar approach. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors…

  • The acquisition of Anthony Rizzo changes nothing for the Cubs and their pursuit of Prince Fielder. Olney calls it an "apples and oranges" situation given the price tag of the two players. The Cubs' brass has been acting with zero urgency in talks with Fielder, and they've always been leery about giving him a long-term deal.
  • The team most interested in Fielder — and most willing to pay big — might be the Mariners. Whether or not he wants to play in Seattle is another matter.
  • Baseball officials as well as some in the union are under the assumption that the playoff field will be increased to ten teams in 2012. Playoff expansion will happen in 2013, but the new collective bargaining agreement gives the league the option of putting it in play this year.

This post has been corrected to say that the Mariners "might be" the club most interested in Fielder, not that they are.