BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 23: Alfredo Aceves #91 of the Boston Red Sox wipes the sweat off of his face in between pitches in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the game on August 23, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
It's surprising how far the man we called "Ace" (if not that kind of ace) has fallen. From the lock-down reliever who proved our savior time and again last year, to the disgruntled circus act malcontent which Marc covered earlier today, it's been just a disaster year for Aceves.
On some level, it's about performance. Much is forgiven of the tumultuous star who produces as much on the field as he does in the clubhouse, less of the former closer with a 4.66 ERA, eight blown saves, and nine losses to his name. Some of that is because it makes it easier to dislike him due to the grief caused by his failings, but just as much it's because it makes his indignation all the more ridiculous.
Still, even if Alfredo were an absolute star, it's tough to say if the Sox wouldn't try and find a new home for him anyways, if they could get decent value. The theme going into 2013 seems to be new beginnings. Fewer disgruntled players, a cleaner clubhouse, no Bobby Valentine (God willing), and hopefully less media fervor as a result. Even if the main conflict here is between Aceves and Valentine, just getting rid of Valentine doesn't make Alfredo's actions any less egregious. He's not only outed himself not only as a potential problem player, but in doing so has given the media a nice easy target.
It's just not something the team needs around.
Add to that a talented bullpen with plenty of depth and the fact that even Aceves' 2011 numbers weren't exactly supported by the peripherals, and you're left with few compelling reasons to bring Aceves back. The question will become whether anyone wants to give something up for such a questionable return, or if the Sox will be left having to simply non-tender him. Either way, though, he does not seem likely to be back in Boston for 2013.
After that, all that remains will be Lackey, and he's actually managed to be pretty quiet for his part.