The 2012 season has been one to forget for the Red Sox and their fans for many reasons. Embarrassing losses, relentless injuries, a manager who likes to hear himself talk and now players bickering in the dugout is all compounding to what has been one of the most frustrating seasons in recent memory.
Alfredo Aceves is now front and center as the latest player who is not only unhappy, but may be writing his own ticket out of Boston. This guy was once a promising arm in the Sox organization and now he appears to be free falling to the depths of despair, earning a trip to the waiver wire. It’s clear what direction this club needs to go and shedding the fat from the clubhouse is the first step. The trade with the Dodgers was a good start and now anyone who is going to act like selfish brats, then he needs to go too. It’s unfortunate when you think about the rise and fall of Aceves as he had such promise.
Aceves was arguably one of the Red Sox best pitchers last season and it left many wondering why the New York Yankees would let him go. Here was a guy who would spot start, deliver brilliant relief outings and even appeared like he could become an effective closer. He worked in 114.0 innings, going 10-2 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.105 WHIP, while making 4 starts. But that was then and this is now. It is becoming perfectly clear as to why the Yankees let him go and a similar trend is now developing in Boston, making it obvious that the Red Sox need to follow suit.
We first heard of Aceves’ unhappiness back in Spring Training when Bobby Valentine made the decision to move Aceves to the pen and promote Daniel Bard to the starting rotation. Aceves was also being worked out to potentially start, but when Andrew Bailey fell to the injured reserved list, Aceves was needed to fill in the back end. He voiced his displeasure then, but appeared to have settled down and accept the role.
Then there was the dust up with Bobby V over the manager’s decision to use Bailey in a save situation against Kansas City a week or so ago. Aceves, who had been used a lot in recent games leading up to what turned out to be a Sox win, showed his true colors that led to a three-game suspension for what was deemed “behavior that is detrimental to the club.” The actions are said to include Aceves ripping off his jersey, slamming the door before storming out of the clubhouse, all after a heated discussion with Valentine. Does that sound like the kind of player this team needs going forward?
Finally the latest controversy with Acves came Saturday night it was front and center when NESN captured it all on camera. Aceves called off Jarrod Saltalamacchia and first baseman James Loney for a foul pop up that he would drop. A bizarre play that little leaguers know how to perform. The pitcher always, always, always gives way to the catcher in that situation. It’s baseball fundamentals 101.
Then Acves was upset with the home plate umpire, which is not surprising. He continued his argument from the mound and surprisingly wasn’t tossed from the game. All over having to take a new ball after a foul tip.
Then Aceves repeatedly tried to pick off the A’s runner at second base, catching Dustin Pedroia by surprise a time or two. Clearly this was Aceves running his own show and the method was a little unsettling.
Pedey was caught on camera discussing the events in the dugout with Aceves and it didn’t appear the two were talking about where they were going to eat after the game. Rather it was Pedroia trying to explain his side and Aceves was getting heated in the discussions. Bobby Valentine tried to intervene and it looked as though Aceves lightly brushed him off as if to say “get out of here, you don’t belong here.” Pitching coach Randy Niemann was also hanging around and it was evident that Aceves needed to be removed from the conversation.
The players are frustrated with the losing season and in the midst of a five-game losing skid, it’s only compounding the raw emotions. But that doesn’t make it acceptable for any player to perform such actions that Aceves has shown in the past couple of weeks. We learnt that the Yankees let Aceves go for more of his behavior than his on-field performances. We are staring to see why.
The Red Sox need to cut ties with Aceves and could stand to do it before the end of the year. It’s a lost season, providing plenty of opportunity for the prospects to play in the final month so filling Aceves’ roster spot won’t be difficult. The Sox need to rid themselves of any players who pose to be a disruption in the clubhouse and given Aceves has blown eight saves (tied for the most in the majors) it’s not as though they’d be parting ways with Mariano Rivera.
Aceves is expendable especially given his behavior of late. It’s a new regime in Boston (hopefully) and the management has another opportunity to reinforce that with the players by parting ways with Alfredo Aceves. Negativity breeds negativity and it’s just a matter of time before Aceves brings other players down with him.