Alfredo Aceves, Not Mark Melancon, To Close In Andrew Bailey's Absence

FORT MYERS, FL - Pitcher Alfredo Aceves #91 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at City of Palms Park (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Red Sox pulled a fast one on us, naming Alfredo Aceves as their interim closer over Mark Melancon.

There was a moment this off-season where it looked like the Red Sox traded for Mark Melancon to be their closer. Turns out he wasn't even going to be their backup closer in the event of injury. From the Boston Globe.

Alfredo Aceves is the closer.

"On the days when Alfredo’s not available, if Mark Melancon is available, he’ll be doing it. I think the guys reading up to that will be very credible," Valentine said. "Just from what we’ve seen this spring and [he’s] a little more familiar with the American League. He was in the plans while he was starting.

"He loves competition. I think he’s one of the better competitors that I’ve seen. I could be wrong, I haven’t seen him up close and personal in battle. But I believe that he’s a very good competitor to say nothing of a very good pitcher."

Here's something pretty incredible about Alfredo Aceves you might not know ...

He's 24-3.

Seriously. In the major leagues. Twenty-four wins, three losses.

Among pitchers with at least 20 career decisions, Aceves' .889 winning percentage is the highest. Forever.

Of course, that (apparently) can happen if you're a pretty good relief pitcher and you pitch for the Yankees and the Red Sox in the 21st century. The question isn't whether or not he's an .889 pitcher; the numbers on that one don't lie. The question is whether he's the right choice to finish close games for the Red Sox.

He's probably as good as anybody else they've got. His numbers have been all over the place and he's not a big power pitcher by any means, but he's got a 2.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and last year, anyway, he was pretty good at keeping the ball in the yard.

He's not Andrew Bailey, though. He's not Jonathan Papelbon, either. And I've got a sneaking suspicion that "Ace" Aceves won't be the Red Sox' relief ace three months from now.

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