The Red Sox and Alfredo Aceves have agreed on a one-year deal worth $2.65 million plus incentives according to his agent.
As you may or may not have noticed, that's a $1.45 million raise over his 2011 salary. That is, by my calculations, a 121% bump.
What, exactly, did Aceves do to deserve such financial recognition?
It certainly wasn't what he did on the mound. A 5.36 ERA would be bad enough if Aceves were starting, but no, all 84 awful innings came in relief. Maybe he was unlucky? Somewhat, yes, but that 4.33 FIP, for all that it's a full point beneath his ERA, still looks pretty bad for a closer, or even a middle reliever.
Well, maybe the Sox need a guy who can do what Aceves does? He worked well in long relief back in 2011. Maybe, but for my money Franklin Morales is their best bet there this year. It'll keep him stretched out in case he's needed as a starter. And beyond that, if Aceves' 2012 performance was slightly unlucky, his 2011 performance was incredibly lucky. Take away that .231 BABIP and Aceves looks like a pretty mediocre long reliever, too.
I'd suggest it could be for some other reason, but we all know that Aceves did nothing to earn his money off the field either. For all that opposition to Bobby Valentine was welcome last year, Aceves did it in the worst possible way and for the worst possible reason. His public defiance of the Boston manager came because Bobby took him out of the closer role--one of his few smart moves given how poorly Aceves had performed there during the year. And all Aceves' tantrum was good for was to bring the circus act onto the field, leaving the team an even easier target for the unrelenting media.
The fact is that, in arbitration, Aceves may well have walked away the winner thanks to his 25 saves--arbitration judges are nothing if not poor judges of value. The fact is that $2.65 million really isn't a big deal to this team either way.
But it's also the case that Alfredo Aceves has no place on this team. He should not be taking a bullpen spot from Hanrahan, Bailey, Tazawa, Breslow, Uehara, Morales, Mortensen, or Miller. He should not be rewarded for poor performance and selfish, insubordinate behavior.
I'm not a believer that this sort of thing sends signals. I don't expect that the 2013 Sox will be filled with team-controlled players not giving it their all or being clubhouse disruptions just because they see that Alfredo Aceves can get paid for it. But that doesn't make this sit any better in my stomach.