No one ever blamed the Red Sox for signing Alfredo Aceves in 2011. He cost the Red Sox about $2 million in salary, and he agreed to close last year when Andrew Bailey went down early. Aceves has four different pitches that he can throw with accuracy, and he has pitched effectively for two big market teams in New York and Boston. So then why is everyone east of Westchester calling for his departure? Because we have seen this act before in 2012, we all know where that took the Red Sox.
Boston has essentially cleaned house with many of their problem players and staff. Head honcho Bobby Valentine was released, Kevin Youkilis’ tirades are gone, Adrian Gonzalez’s texting is erased, Josh Beckett’s mouth is covered up, and Carl Crawford’s nightmare is put to sleep. But why are the Red Sox keeping someone who has demanded to be a starter, who refused to give a ball to Valentine when he was coming out of a game, who was suspended three games last year because he was passed over for a closing job when Andrew Bailey returned,who had a 5.36 ERA last year with 10 losses and 8 blown saves? Yesterday, Aceves stepped on the mound with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and toyed with the session, throwing 50 mile an hour “fastballs” down the plate when he was supposed to be throwing lasers for strikes. Add that to the list of 7th grade behavior and insert a new manager who already has to discipline highly paid athletes who can’t listen.
While manager John Farrell has inherited this team, he has the power to set the tone for management early. After sending out pitching coach Juan Nieves to talk to Aceves, Farrell took the troubled pitcher aside and had a quick but stern discussion of expectations from here on forward.
The one thing I’ll say about that is that he didn’t go through the drill as intended and we’ve addressed it. He’s healthy and it’s been addressed.
Aceves will still not be comfortable as long as he is not starting. He wants to take the ball every fifth day because “starters make more money.” He also brags about his ability to throw four different pitches, which is what starters should be able to do, but right now in Boston, the starting rotation is set, and the closer has washed ashore a Pirate ship in Joel Hanrahan. That leaves late inning reliever or mop-up-man jobs for Alfredo Aceves. And Alfredo doesn't want them.
So why are the Boston Red Sox keeping Aceves? Well, his salary is less than $3 million this year, and his stuff can be filthy if it is working correctly. With all of his recent outbursts, not many other clubs would be willing to trade for him and take a chance either. If a starter goes down (which we know will happen), then Aceves can fly in like superman and give five innings to a team that is very weak in pitching depth and skill.
Let’s not take ourselves to seriously, Red Sox Nation. We aren't building a team to win the World Series in 2013. This is simply a bridge year to bring us to 2014 and everyone knows it. So what is the point of keeping another sore that can bring down the morale when things go poorly, or to upset the balance of a new team of supposed “clubhouse guys?” The Red Sox did a nice job of cleaning house last year, let’s finish the job and sweep the leg of Alfredo Aceves.
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