TAMPA, Fla. — Alfredo Aceves has been one of the surprises of the Red Sox camp, impressing manger Terry Francona and pitching coach Curt Young with his quality of his pitches and how durable he has been physically.
But there was a reason the Yankees did not tender Aceves a contract in December. They felt the back injury that limited him to 12 innings last season had not healed.
"I offered him a minor league contract; that was it. I wasn‘t going to do anything more than that.," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said tonight.
Aceves ended up signing a major league deal with the Red Sox for a modest $650,000. Obviously there are concerns with Aceves given the cheap deal he agreed to and that he did not sign until Feb. 9.
Those are warning signs considering Aceves was 14-1 with a 3.21 ERA in three seasons. Had he been healthy, there would have been more demand — or the Yankees would not have let him go in the first place.
"Because of the back issue, we could not give him [a major league contract]. He was throwing off the mound for us and he always hit a wall," Cashman said. "So we ultimately continued to fail throughout the entire process to get him off the DL and active. He had a lot of success for a period of time, but then ultimately we’d had to take steps back and we’d have to shut him down and re-do the treatment.
"We decided to non-tender him and offer him a non-guaranteed deal. But obviously when healthy you certainly know what he can do."
Aceves said on Wednesday that his back had healed and the injury was centered more in his hips.
"I'm fine. Believe me, I'm fine," he said. "I just want to show people I can pitch."
It will be interesting to see whether Aceves can hold up. Either the Yankees know something or the Red Sox did their homework and caught a break. Only time will tell.