John Lackey to Have Tommy John Surgery: Is Alfredo Aceves the Best Replacement?

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIOctober 26, 2011

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 27:  Alfredo Aceves #91 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park August 27, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

This offseason has been insane for Red Sox Nation and Ben Cherington dropped a huge bombshell during his introduction as general manager on Tuesday.

After speaking for 39 minutes, Cherington announced that John Lackey will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2012 season. Wow! Did anyone see that one coming, especially that late into the press conference?

The announcement of Lackey's future injury brings up several questions for the pitching staff that struggled so much during September of last season. Cherington noted that Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and a healthy Clay Buchholz will lead the front of the rotation.

After that trio, who knows who is going get take the mound.

Daisuke Matsuzaka had Tommy John surgery during last season and will miss a majority of the 2012 season. At the end of 2011, it seemed that Tim Wakefield had thrown his last knuckleball, but now there are major holes in the Boston rotation.

Alfredo Aceves was one of the biggest surprises for the Red Sox last season, going 10-2 and appearing in 55 games. He led the Red Sox in ERA as a reliever at 2.03 in 93 innings. He made three starts in late May and then started another game in late June last season.

Although he has only started nine total games in his four years in the big leagues, he shows the toughness and commitment that isn't seen in many of the other players on the team. He has the mentality of a winner and wants to dominate his opponent in every at bat.

In his career, opponents have only hit .213 against him even though he only averages around two innings per appearance. In the games that he has started, he has thrown approximately 86 pitches which has gotten him into the sixth inning.

Cherington seemed to favor in-house players over free agents in his press conference, which would make Aceves a great candidate to start next season. If he can average six innings per start without allowing too many runs, he should be in good shape for 2012.