Aceves, who devoted the 2012 season to showing up one-and-done manager Bobby Valentine, is already disrespecting new manager John Farrell and his coaching staff. During a workout on one of the practice fields behind JetBlue Park yesterday, Aceves was supposed to throw “live batting practice,” except that his tosses were so lifeless that Farrell approached the right-hander to ask if everything was OK.
Aceves eventually applied some giddy-up to his pitches, but only after a discussion in Spanish with new pitching coach Juan Nieves.
Hmm . . . don’t you have to change pitchers after two trips to the mound? Even during live batting practice?
Answer: Yes. The Red Sox need to change pitchers. In this case, they need to change Alfredo Aceves from their problem to somebody else’s, the sooner the better. Until then, it’s hard to buy into the “162 Chances to Restore the Faith” ad campaign the Red Sox are rolling out.
I'm a little torn on Aceves. On the one hand, he is a talented player and he makes very little money. He's an asset. On a team with a questionable level of talent, it's a little hard to justify unloading somebody who is good and has something to offer just to not have to put up with a headache.
On the other hand...we've all seen what can happen when things go south in the clubhouse. Make what you will of last year's off-the-field issues and how much they carried over to the diamond. But no one can say that the off-the-field element improved the on-the-field product. And while we've put up with headaches in the past, it was easier to handle when they came in the form of future Hall of Fame hitting prodigies.
From a timing standpoint, though, this might offer the organization a chance to show the team that they believe in John Farrell, and that distractions won't be tolerated. It's at the very least a conversation that Farrell and Ben Cherington are having.
Let's assume this all blows over and Aceves sticks around (by far the most likely scenario, even though in the media it's being treated like a five-alarm fire). The bullpen does looked pretty stacked, and barring major injury or underperformance issues, there should be an opportunity to trade one of them at some point in the season. Hanrahan, Bailey, Bard, Uehara, Tazawa, and Aceves have all been very productive pitchers in some form or fashion.
Holding on to Aceves now through a relatively minor transgression allows Cherington the opportunity to be flexible and see how the season pans out. If Tazawa and Bailey have injury problems and Bard can't get back to what he was, all of a sudden the bullpen looks a little thinner. Or what if Hanrahan can't handle the transition to the AL East? Or Uehara realizes he's 4,000 years old? The depth Aceves provides -- and not in terms of flexibility between starting and relieving, more in terms of being insurance for what should be a strength of the team -- is an asset.
And if everything is working out by the summer? By all means, ship him out.
Herald | First Will and testament | Ross not sour on Salty | ESPNBoston | Still testing the limits? | Napoli participates in fielding practice | Wakefield to work with Wright | Today's takeaways: So far, so good | Globe | Alfredo Aceves earns a lecture from Red Sox manager John Farrell | Red Sox get creative in the infield | CSNNE | Farrell gets first test from mercurial Aceves | Iglesias focused on improving ... not a roster spot