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Alfredo Aceves Rumors
Clay Buchholz hopes to throw a bullpen session on Thursday at Fenway Park and, if all goes well, the right-hander may try a simulated a game a few days afterwards, Buchholz told reporters (including Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe) during Monday's All-Star festivities in New York. Buchholz said he won't return until the stiffness in his neck has totally subsided, but “if I thought it was a do or die situation in September and we were pushing for the pennant, if it came to that, absolutely I’d be out there," he said. "There’s no risk right now, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it."
Here are some more items about the AL East-leading Red Sox…
- Scott Boras, Jacoby Ellsbury's agent, told reporters (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) that he wasn't planning to negotiate with GM Ben Cherington about a new contract for his client until after the season. Ellsbury recently claimed the #2 spot on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings for the coming offseason. The center fielder is hitting .305/.368/.422 and has stolen a league-leading 36 bases for the Sox this year, a performance that Boras attributes to Ellsbury's gradual recovery from a shoulder injury.
- Alfredo Aceves is no longer represented by agent Tom O'Connell, Nick Cafardo reports (Twitter link). The right-hander is believed to be representing himself for now, according to Rob Bradford and Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Aceves was outrighted to Triple-A earlier today, the latest step in the reliever's tumultuous stint in Boston. You can keep track of who's representing who in the baseball world via MLBTR's Agency Database.
- The move from Boston to small-market Pittsburgh wasn't the reason for Mark Melancon's improvement in 2013, the reliever told media (including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal), saying that the improvement began after working on his mechanics and approach to pitching during a minor league stint last season. Melancon allowed 11 runs in his first two innings with the Red Sox in 2012 but posted a 4.19 ERA over his next 43 innings, though it wasn't enough to keep him from being dealt to the Bucs last December. With the Pirates, Melancon has posted a sterling 0.81 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 44 1/3 IP and earned his first All-Star appearance.
Evan Drellich of MassLive.com reports that Aceves and the Red Sox disagreed last week about whether Aceves was healthy, with the pitcher claiming that he had an oblique injury that might keep him out as long as the rest of the season, and the Red Sox denying Aceves had any serious injury trouble.
Aceves has a 4.86 ERA in 37 innings with Boston this season, with 5.8 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9. He has made six starts, with the last of those coming June 18. He is earning $2.65MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility.
Aceves was not eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season, so any team that claimed him on waivers would have had the option of taking him to arbitration in the fall. Also, any team that claimed Aceves would have been able to option him to the minors while keeping him on their 40-man roster. Despite Aceves' ability to start and the roster flexibility he would have offered, no one claimed him. As Britton notes, that suggests that other teams don't think particularly highly of Aceves, who has struggled with poor peripherals and reduced velocity this season and who has clashed with his managers in the past.
One month doesn't tell the entire story for a team, but clubs are trying to look at April performances and figure out what direction things are going in, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Phillies aren't getting much production out of Ryan Howard and with the Nationals and Braves likely to pick things up soon, they might sell off pieces like Cliff Lee. The Mariners have been struggling to open 2013 and so far offseason acquisitions Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse aren't helping. The 10-13 White Sox are also worth watching because there’s always talk that they would part with players such as Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios, and maybe even Paul Konerko. Here's more from today's column..
- Surprisingly, baseball people have an open mind about acquiring Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves. Boston won't fetch much for him, but one veteran adviser to a GM said, “You’d be crazy not to take that chance with an arm like that. Change of environment can do wonders for a player who might have had a troubled past. I think you always take that risk if the player has skills, and Aceves has skills.” Cafardo wouldn't be surprised to see the Angels and Rangers show interest.
- Scouts who have watched Red Sox minor leaguer Brandon Snyder want him on their team. The first baseman is off to a hot start for Triple-A Pawtucket, hitting .328/.427/.578 with three homers. Snyder was the O's pick in the first round of the 2005 draft (13th overall), a rich draft in which Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Pelfrey, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, and Jay Bruce were taken ahead of him. One AL scout said that he can't imagine Snyder not being able to help a big league club.
- Orioles decision maker Dan Duquette is trying to make adjustments to his roster, perhaps by acquiring a power bat off the bench and another starting pitcher.
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.
After tonight's win over the Athletics, the Red Sox informed Alfredo Aceves that he would be demoted to the club's Triple-A affiliate. The right-hander now has 72 hours to report to Pawtucket and indications are that the Red Sox will try to deal him, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN said in a radio interview that he spoke to one big league GM who believes that he club won't be able to get anything in return for the troubled pitcher. The Red Sox might be able to get salary relief in a deal involving Aceves, however, and Olney pointed to a club in search of bullpen help like the Angels could be a fit.
Aceves, 30, earns $2.6MM this season and isn't set to hit the open market until after the 2014 season. In parts of six big league seasons, Aceves owns a 3.82 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 176 relief appearances and 12 starts. A few teams were interested in dealing for the right-hander prior to Opening Day, but injuries to Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow coupled with Daniel Bard's issues meant that the Red Sox couldn't part with him.
Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney joined WEEI's Mut & Merloni to talk all things Red Sox and we have the highlights courtesy of Annie Maroon..
- One major league GM told Olney that the Red Sox would get nothing by trading pitcher Alfredo Aceves. His trade value is extremely low because of his reputation as a poor teammate, though it's conceivable that he could go elsewhere and rebound. The best Boston could do might be to get some salary relief for Aceves and a team starving for bullpen help like the Angels could be a fit.
- Rival teams were shocked that the Dodgers gave up both Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa in the blockbuster trade seeing as how they were taking so much dead money off of Boston's payroll. In fact, baseball people felt that Red Sox GM Ben Cherington pulled off one of the best trades in years, even when factoring in all of the talent he parted with.
- Olney sees Mike Napoli’s hip condition impacting the offers he’ll see as a free agent next year but he was surprised to see the catcher's deal affected so much by the hip issues this past offseason with the Red Sox. Olney expected another team to jump in while the deal was in limbo and steal him away, but that didn't happen. At the same time, it's possible that Napoli had other attractive offers on the table but decided that he liked the situation in Boston and the chance to show that he can provide value at first base.
The Marlins have an Opening Day, on-field payroll of just $36.1MM, about $58MM less than in 2012, Juan Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel notes. That the Marlins' team is dramatically less expensive than it was at this point last year is hardly news, but it's still startling to see a list of the team's players and their salaries, as Rodriguez provides here. After Ricky Nolasco at $11.5MM, the next-highest-paid Marlin is Placido Polanco, who will make $2.75MM.
- "A few teams" were interested in trading for Alfredo Aceves of the Red Sox, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes (on Twitter). But injuries to Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow, along with Daniel Bard's control problems, meant it wasn't possible for the Sox to deal Aceves.
- Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester isn't interested in discussing a contract extension during the season, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI. "If something did come up during the season I probably wouldn't listen," says Lester. "I don't want to deal with it. I think it's too much of a distraction." Lester will make $11.625MM in 2013, and the Red Sox have a $13MM option, with a $250K buyout, for Lester's services in 2014.
- The Blue Jays added plenty of talent this offseason, adding R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and others, but bold offseasons don't necessarily lead to big results, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com argues. McAdam points to the 2011 Red Sox (who did finish third, although they also won 90 games) and 2012 Marlins as examples of teams that have disappointed in the years following exciting offseasons.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details the latest from Major League Baseball Players Association chief Michael Weiner on the union's views on drug testing. Weiner also discussed the qualifying offer system, expressing that he is "pleased that the number of players that carried compensation dropped way down, from in the thirties to nine," while noting that neither the league nor the union "expected that a player the caliber of Kyle Lohse would have the difficulty he's having," an issue which he "would like to find a way out of … sooner rather than later, before 2016." Elsewhere around the league:
- Brennan Boesch detailed the series of events that led to him joining the Yankees yesterday, as Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger reports. Boesch was told "earlier this week" that he would be released by the Tigers despite still having multiple minor league options, which the outfielder viewed as "a favor" despite being surprised at the news. When Boesch learned from agent Scott Boras of the Yankees' interest, he instructed Boras to just "get it done" because New York was his top choice.
- The Mets, unlike their New York neighbors, "weren't enthused" about Boesch because they saw him "as another Lucas Duda" and feel comfortable with their in-house options, tweets Jon Heyman. Meanwhile, the club may need to fill in for star third-baseman David Wright to start the season, and Michael Baron of MetsBlog breaks down the internal options.
- Left-handed reliever Franklin Morales is out indefinitely as he deals with a bulging disk in his back, which potentially opens a spot in the Red Sox bullpen for Clayton Mortensen, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Morales' injury situation also makes it is less likely that Boston will deal Alfredo Aceves, Lauber explains, because "manager John Farrell has identified Aceves [as] the primary long man in the Red Sox' bullpen and their best option to provide a spot start in the event of injuries in the rotation."
- As the Angels look over the market for available backstops, they are joined by the Phillies, Pirates, and Rays in looking for "experienced catching," tweets Peter Gammons of MLB Network.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com feels that the Red Sox should part ways with the volatile Alfredo Aceves, but it doesn't seem like such a move is in the cards. General Manager Ben Cherington told Heyman via text not to expect to see Aceves cut while another person connected to the club said that he can't see it happening. The Red Sox's bullpen is shorthanded at the moment with Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow sidelined, so now would not be a great time to drop Aceves. Here's more from around baseball..
- All signs point to Twins prospect Aaron Hicks making the leap from Double-A to win the club's center field job, Heyman writes. Recently, Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at service time considerations for Hicks and other top prospects in baseball.
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland has success with a bullpen by committee in the past and it could work again for him in 2013, writes Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com. Detroit has inquired on closing options from other teams in recent weeks but they could instead use rookie Bruce Rondon and other relievers already in-house to close out games.
- Chipper Jones joked that former teammate David Ross should start a rumor that he was coming back to baseball to sign with the Red Sox, but the catcher wanted no part of it, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald. Ross asked Jones if he's staying retired and the future Hall of Famer said "I ain't going nowhere."
Alfredo Aceves has irked his bosses in Boston, but shipping him to another team wouldn’t necessarily be easy for the Red Sox. One general manager told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that Aceves has next to no trade value. "Not if you know him," the GM said (Twitter link). Here are more links from around MLB…
- Lynn Henning of the Detroit News explains how the Tigers nearly failed to sign prospect Nick Castellanos after they drafted him in the summer of 2010.
- MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince looks around the AL Central to see if any of the re-tooled teams can challenge the Tigers in 2013.
- In a video clip on MLB.com, White Sox GM Rick Hahn discusses the organization’s approach to remaining competitive while undergoing cycles of team building. Hahn highlighted the importance of monitoring the strengths and weaknesses of division opponents while remaining realistic about one’s own organization.
- Turning to the team’s present situation, Hahn opined that Chicago is poised to compete in 2013 and discussed the team’s handling of young starter Chris Sale.
- Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan questions and analyzes Brian Cashman’s claims that the Yankees are committed to and successful at developing homegrown starting pitching. The piece details each team’s success at developing pitching in recent years.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.