That didn't take long. No one knows just what personal limit Red Sox manager John Farrell has setup for himself in terms of putting up with Alfredo Aceves, but from the sound of things, Aceves already started to test that over the weekend. Farrell, along with pitching coach Juan Nieves, had to pull Aceves aside to make him put in actual effort in a spring training workout, in which Aceves mistakenly threw batting practice pitches down the heart of the plate, rather than the actual pitches the workout required.
Manager John Farrell, who was watching from the side, asked Aceves if something was wrong physically. Then he sent pitching coach Juan Nieves out to the mound.
In Spanish, Nieves explained to Aceves to pick up the pace during an animated conversation. The next pitch was a legitimate fastball, but Aceves continued to mix actual pitches with soft tosses. Not until the end of his session did Aceves start to really pitch.
Farrell was waiting for the eccentric righthander when he came off the mound. Their conversation didn't look like a pleasant one.
"He didn't go through the drill as intended and we've addressed it," Farrell said. "His session on the mound didn't go as intended. He's healthy and it has been addressed."
Farrell, in his opening press conference as Red Sox manager, stressed effort as a key for players who wanted to stay in Boston during his tenure. Aceves seems already to have kind of done what he felt like early on in spring training, and this after Farrell gave Aceves the benefit of the doubt all off-season, saying he would make his own decision on Aceves' role and placement in the organization once he got to know him. This doesn't mean there's no time to change course, or that Aceves' is doomed already, but things don't seem to exactly be starting off on the right foot.
Peter Abraham is probably right when he says that Aceves was testing new manager Farrell. Maybe next time this drill comes up, Aceves gives full effort, seeing that Farrell responded quickly to said test. Or, maybe Aceves is just going to continue to be kind of a baby about the fact he isn't starting nor closing, and he'll end up in another uniform before Opening Day. Given it's Aceves, it's hard to tell, as he's spent much of the last two years in Boston driving his managers up the wall.
Alex Speier details the Red Sox' options regarding Aceves, and they aren't very attractive. In a nutshell, he lacks trade value because of the character issues, but he could be waived if it came to it. He also has an option remaining, but, given Aceves is upset about the fact he isn't in a more important major-league role, the chances of ever getting anything productive out of him ever again after sending him to the minors are low. Then again, it could be a wake-up call for him, too, since he thinks highly enough of himself that there have been problems whenever an authority figure doesn't think equally of him.
The chances of him being outright released are low, since the Red Sox would need to invoke a specific clause in the collective bargaining agreement about poor "citizenship" in the organization. As Speier notes, this is generally for players who make the organization look bad by getting arrested, not for throwing 50 mph during full-effort sessions, or being a general nuisance.
With all that being said, though, if Aceves continues to be a pain, on a Red Sox team with a bullpen so full it certainly doesn't need Aceves, chances are that Farrell will make sure he ends up in another club's uniform before spring is out.