Former Red Sox GM and current Cubs president Theo Epstein discussed the closer-by-committee concept, which he tried unsuccessfully with the Sox ten years back. As Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports, Epstein recalled how the 2003 situation unfolded: "We were lowering payroll, we wanted to spread some of the remaining money around and we wanted to get draft picks. We felt like the best plan was to get a bunch of good arms and see what happened. It was bad execution because a few of the guys we got didn't perform early so it became a huge controversy. In hindsight we were a little naive how big a story it was going to become and how it was going to take on a life of its own in a detrimental fashion." Epstein still feels that utilization of late-inning matchups is, "in the absence of a clear-cut closer, ... a fine strategy," but notes that "it can wreak havoc" if "the media and the public get involved."
- For different reasons, the current Red Sox club could see its own closer situation making headlines shortly, as WEEI.com's Victor Barbosa writes. Team president and CEO Larry Lucchino says that he "think[s] that there will be a controversy" when Joel Hanrahan returns, given the strong work of Andrew Bailey. But, he said, quite unlike the 2003 team, this one finds itself with more than one qualified closer. Lucchino praised the work of GM Ben Cherington and his staff in assembling the team's bullpen this past offseason, along with focusing on acquiring "good teammates who could perform in the crucible that is Boston and make this team likable but also good."
- Manager John Farrell says the team's decision to ship pitcher Alfredo Aceves to Triple-A is "performance-based, solely," reports the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber. Cherington echoed that sentiment, saying that Aceves "just has to pitch better," according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier. Cherington claims that, in spite of Aceves's demotion (and rumors that the team is looking to trade him), the team continues to believe that he can provide value in Boston. He called Aceves "a hard worker" that has "been a successful pitcher in the big leagues for more than one year."
- Regardless of what they do with Aceves, Boston will hold him to the requirement that he accept the assignment within 72 hours or risk his $2.65MM salary guarantee, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports on Twitter. (The club will, however, let him wait until Saturday, when Triple-A Pawtucket returns home, Heyman tweets.) Heyman further writes that, whatever Aceves's potential, the Red Sox should simply release him. Aceves not only has proven more trouble than he is worth to the team, says Heyman, but he figures to have minimal trade value at this point.