Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Yanks Dropped the Ball on Aceves

Yanks Dropped the Ball on Aceves

By Mike Silva ~ March 15th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

I was curious all offseason as to why the Yankees ignored Alfredo Aceves. After he signed with Boston we reported the following:

Despite the need for more pitching depth, Tampa sources told me the Yankees had “no interest” in Alfredo Aceves, who signed a 650k deal with Boston. As a matter of fact, an offer wasn’t even made.

Some in the organization believe the back problems from last year will prevent Aceves from ever regaining his form. Hard to believe the Yanks wouldn’t have matched the Boston deal otherwise. In 2009 he was 10-1 with a 3.54 ERA out of the bullpen. It will be hard pressed to fill that role as effectively with the group that is reporting to camp.

Thus far Aceves has looked pretty good pitching for the Red Sox. Tony Lee of NESN believes Aceves “has a chance to take Matsuzaka’s spot in the rotation if he starts the year poorly,” he added that “he (Aceves) has been one of the more impressive guys in camp in terms of his preparation and intensity. He also has thrown the ball pretty well (no earned runs in five innings) and has said he wants to be a starter.”

So the Yankees invite Bartolo Colon, who hasn’t pitched since 2009, to camp with the intent of competing as a starter. They signed Mark Prior, who hasn’t thrown a big league pitch since 2006, to compete for a long man spot in the bullpen. The Sergio Mitre love affair is baffling. I know Brian Cashman said they wanted Aceves back, but on a minor league deal. You’re telling me they couldn’t drop Mitre from the roster? Who the heck is Steve Garrison?

Mitre is now hurt, and Joba Chamberlain’s injury sounds foreboding in the short term. Aceves is already missed and we haven’t reached Opening Day.

To be fair the Yankees 40 man is loaded with kids, so that’s a factor, but I just think a better effort could have been made to salvage a pitcher with a career ERA+ of 142. By removing him from the 40 man you created a problem that wasn’t necessary. I hope lefty Steve Garrison is worth it. Apparently the 24 year old lefty is worth a 40 man spot.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Aceves pitches well enough to become a mainstay in the Red Sox rotation, and help beat the Yankees this year? I like Freddy Garcia, but Aceves is only 28 years old.

Apparently, the Mets also offered Aceves a chance to compete for a bullpen job, but he believed he had a better shot at starting in Boston. I disagree, the Mets are the perfect team for someone like Aceves to rebound and reestablish himself.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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8 Responses to Yanks Dropped the Ball on Aceves

  1. TT

    I’ll believe it if he’s pitching in June. I trust the Yanks doctors.

  2. Ben Vinutti

    This is a total over reaction to short term, spring training performance.. I liked Ace but back problems don’t generally go away, they flare up and subside, often appearing at inopportune times - think Kevin Brown and David wells among many other MLB examples. Second guess the Yankee braintrust if he is pitching well and healthy in August, not March…

  3. CAYanksFan

    I’m w/TT. I trust Cash’s judgement, as well. Exhibition season isn’t necessarily always a true harbinger of things to come, anyways. As far as Joba’s injury goes; how could anyone predict that? Duh? However, I do agree with your take on Mitre. He has absolutely NO business being on anyone’s MLB rotation, as a starter. I don’t get how he even rates a look-see, either. I believe Garcia gets a spot and maybe even Colon (#5). Watch for Prior to enter the rotation, at some point. Cash will also pull the trigger on another starter (or 2) as the season draws near the trade deadline. Also, as a long-shot; watch out for Pettite returning at mid-season.


    I agree with your assessment, Mike. Why would they guarantee Mitre $900K and not even give Aceves a look? I don’t understand the way Cashman goes about his duties sometimes. His arrogance is wearing thin. He seemed to have completely mishandled the Cliff Lee thing and had no solid backup plan in the event that Lee spurned his ludicrous offer. If you’re gonna put that kind of money out there, you’d better make sure that fish bites. He thought the money would be enough to lure Lee and didn’t seem to make much of an effort beyond that. In ’08, he put a ridiculous offer on the table for C.C. and then closed the deal with the hard sell. He said he was going into this year’s Winter Meetings with one goal: to go after “pitching, pitching, pitching”. I would think a guy who knows the importance of fortifying a rotation for battle in the A.L. East would understand the dire need to create as many options as possible. He showed no such inclination, as was evidenced by his lack of a viable plan B after Lee took the money and ran to Philly. Not only did he let Aceves get away but he let Justin Duscherer go to the Orioles for around $750K. These guys are both risky propositions but the rewards could have made them worth it.

    Last season Cashman took a chance on Nick Johnson for $5.5 million (not including buyout), knowing what a train wreck this guy has been with injuries throughout his career. He also threw $2 million at Randy Winn who ended up with something like 61 AB’s. I just don’t know how a guy, with the resources he has at his disposal, can not even make an effort. Even if it was major league deals he had to give these 2 pitchers, the risk is negligible.

    Cashman gets criticized for being a checkbook manager. I wouldn’t go entirely that far. He did help to revive a floundering farm system and, as a result, solidify the foundation of the franchise. I do feel, however, that he lacks the instincts to ever be a truly great GM. He’s hit a few home runs during his tenure, but he has layed many more eggs.

  5. Tim

    March 15 not even the first day of spring.

    Talk to me in a few months.

  6. Steve S.

    Not so fast, my friend. The Yanks had a few stretches where he was coming along well in his rehab, only to break down again repeatedly. No one was a bigger Ace fan than me, but I trust the Yankee docs on this one. When he gets his back surgery done, I’d love to bring him back. But in the due time, I think the Sox will learn what the Yanks did.

  7. Jim M

    You should also consider that Aceves, recently in the Yankees organization, would be less inclined to take a non-roster invite from the Yankee, than he would from another club.
    Also, the Yankees had more information about his back and his motorcycle injury than anyone else and were in the best position to make a decision about him. Finally, since he did not have surgery to correct the back issues, I would think that there is an assumption that he will eventually need surgery, or consisten time off when the condition flares up.

  8. TT

    Cashman isnt a moron. If Aceves was even remotely healthy he would have brought him back.

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