The project ends now.
Aceves has pitched for the Red Sox the last two seasons with varied results. In his first year, he went 10-2 with a 2.61 ERA across 55 appearances and 114 innings. Last season, though, he went 2-10 with a 5.36 ERA in 69 outings and 84 innings. He’s primarily a reliever, but has been given the chance to start in the past.
But this argument isn’t about Aceves’ statistics, it’s about his attitude—which is about as horrible as you’ll come across.
Not many approved of the way that former manager Bobby Valentine ran this team a year ago, but Aceves was easily his biggest enemy. Aceves was even suspended for three games after a disagreement with Valentine, among other issues that arose throughout the drama-filled season.
Even with John Farrell now at the helm of the club, Aceves doesn’t seem to have changed his approach one bit. He’s going to do whatever he wants. During a February live batting practice session, Aceves was lobbing the ball to the plate, according to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston. Farrell had to go out to the mound to straighten him out.
If you’ve been paying any amount of attention to the World Baseball Classic, you’ve probably heard Aceves’ name as well. During Mexico’s recent matchup against Canada, Aceves was right in the middle of a bench-clearing brawl—video of the fight can be seen below. Figures, right?
What does Aceves not get?
The Red Sox have to take action, but unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely.
General manager Ben Cherington basically ruled out the possibility that Aceves would get cut, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Another source told Heyman that he “can’t see that happening.”
What is so special about Aceves that Boston feels the need to keep him?
It’s probably because Aceves can start if the Red Sox need him to, a weak reason in my book. Boston’s primary spot-start candidate, Franklin Morales, is currently injured, and it doesn’t appear that he’ll be ready to start the season. A couple of other relievers, most importantly Craig Breslow, are banged up as well.
But so what if Aceves can start a game? Technically, anyone can start a baseball game. It’s how long they can stay in the game without getting shelled is what’s important. Aceves only has nine starts over the course of his career to his credit, and he’s actually worse in that role. Despite the small sample size, his ERA as a starter is 4.18 while it’s 3.45 as a reliever.
If the Red Sox wouldn’t start Junichi Tazawa or Andrew Miller in a dire situation, then there’s something seriously, seriously wrong. Aceves is no better than either of the two, and they’re both probably going to make the 25-man roster coming out of camp.
Is there interest in a reliever that has starter qualities, but throws constant temper tantrums? Heyman reported in mid-February that if you know him or read about him, you can’t trade for him. He has close to no trade value.
But that shouldn’t matter. I don’t care if the Red Sox trade him for another guy to walk up and down the rows at Fenway Park selling ice cream or peanuts. Just get rid of him.
The Red Sox are looking for a clean slate in 2013, but they won’t have one if they break camp with Aceves still on the payroll.