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March 20, 2013

Time to finish cleaning out bad apples in clubhouse and cut Aceves

Alfredo Aceves remains with the Red Sox despite his erratic behavior because of his rubber arm and versatility (he can start, pitch in long relief, setup, close).

Mr. Rubber Arm was in action in September 2011 when the Red Sox were a sinking ship in a race for the playoffs. Aceves pitched four straight days (Sept. 25-28), totaling 7.1 innings and allowing just one run.

Not many relievers can take the ball four straight days and Aceves should be commended for it.

But he also should be condemned for his poor behavior since then.

Aceves has given the Red Sox too many headaches and has put himself before the team too many times recently. GM Ben Cherington should release the right-hander hurler before Aceves has a chance to start more trouble during this upcoming regular season. After all, the righty is not as valuable as the everyone seems to think.

Sure, Aceves does have value. He spent most of last year as the closer, posting a 5.36 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while blowing eight saves. Those numbers aren’t impressive. But he does have a 3.56 career ERA, a decent 4.18 ERA in nine career starts and has held opponents to just a .215 batting average in the seventh through ninth innings.

He also has been almost equally as effective against left-handed batters (.224 batting average in his career) as right-handed batters (.223 BAA). And, of course, he gives the Red Sox innings. There was a stretch in May 2012 when Aceves pitched five times in seven days and another time that same month when he pitched four straight days.

Aceves is what he is though. He is a solid pitcher — not an All-Star and obviously not the next Pedro Martinez. And his behavior often is as peculiar as Manny Ramirez’s used to be. Ramirez got away with it for the most part because he had tremendous ability. He was a World Series MVP.

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