Aceves Vying for 5th Spot in Rotation

Alfredo Aceves has always been a good pitcher. Though for the Yankees he has come out of the bullpen in long relief situations for the majority of his career, the 27 year old righty is making a push for the 5th spot in the rotation. An article on MLB.com notes how he has, to this point, outperformed the competition.

Scattering three hits with no walks and one strikeout, Aceves exited with a 0.90 ERA through his 10 spring innings.

The Yankees headed to camp with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes thought to be leading a pack that also includes Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre for the final spot in the rotation, but on a day when Gaudin allowed three runs in three innings in a 6-2 loss to the Tigers, it seemed to be Aceves who has stated his case most convincingly.

“It’s impressive, because of the different things he’s been able to do with the baseball,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He changes speeds, [has] late movement, pitches up and down. He changes eye level, in and out. He can do all of those things.

“What I’m most happy about is he’s ahead in the count most of the time. He’s putting hitters in a lot of 1-2 counts, 0-1 counts. That’s what you love to see. Guys love to play behind those types of guys, too.”

My question is, should Aceves, who clearly is outperforming the likes of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes during Spring Training, be given a chance to get the starting job? After all, he was barely mentioned as a contender for the job when pitchers and catchers were reporting.

Aceves quietly had a very good year for the Yankees. He finished with a 3.54 ERA in 84 innings and lead the league in wins by a reliever with 10. Whenever he steps onto the mound you can be pretty sure what you are going to get out of him. Aceves is a consistent pitcher with good movement and as Girardi said, he is someone the team likes to play behind. While I know that long-term Chamberlain and Hughes are supposed to be the core of the Yankees rotation, why not give Aceves a shot to prove himself? Aceves is a humble, hard-working, talented pitcher. It could not hurt the Yankees to afford Aceves the same opportunity that they did do Joba, Hughes, and even Ian Kennedy.

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7 Responses to Aceves Vying for 5th Spot in Rotation

  1. Considering how well he is going, Peter, and what a bullpen of Joba and Hughes could possibly mean for the Yankees in 2010, Aceves should absolutely get an honest look at being the #5 starter. I am not sure how he would hold up over an entire season. Nor do I get too exercised over Joba's struggles thus far in ST. But Aceves has unquestionably been a revelation the last couple years for the Yanks. Should he become the fifth starter, and Joba and Hughes set up for Mariano, look out.

    I am not sure if that will happen, however. The Yankees appear to want to give Joba and Hughes the preference to start, especially with Joba having been stretched out already. At the same time, I sense an impatience with the Yanks over Joba's inconsistencies last year–even though inconsistent work hindered his performances late last year. That is, I wonder if the Yankees are starting to veer toward the Joba-to-the-pen stance.

  2. Peter Menking says:

    I completely agree with you Jason. I think at this point the Yankees do not know what they want to do with Joba. They seem to keep trying to run him out for a starting spot but it feels like maybe they are realizing he is not cut out for that job quite yet. If Aceves can pull his weight as a 5th starter then I think the Yankees have a scary rotation with a bullpen that is very solid at the top both with short and long relievers. If Aceves keeps performing at this level, why not let him try?

  3. Lefty says:

    AMEN. As often previously suggested….It would give Yanks arguably the best pen in the bigs.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    Don't see the Yankees messing with success. Aceves was very valuable in the long and middle reliever role last year and I don't see an obvious replacement for him. Please don't tell me Gaudin or Mitre because they both suck and I believe that both will be either at AAA or released within one month. I see both Aceves and Joba in the bullpen, it is nearly a lock.

  5. Mike S. says:

    The replacement apparently is there, Jeffrey. Chan Ho Park has been guaranteed of making the team as a long man, and Park can obviously be an emergency starter if necessary. Should Aceves be the #5, Park would be the long man, Hughes and Joba could join Robertson and Marte as the bridge to Mo, and Gaudin or Mitre could join Park as long men. But the point is, Park is guaranteed a spot in the bullpen, and most likely as a long reliever.

  6. Peter Menking says:

    I have to go with Mike S. on this one Jeffery. I think the reason they signed Chan Ho Park was to ensure that our go-to long relievers were not Gaudin and Mitre. They could come in when Park was gassed but other than that I don't see them having a big role. After all, Gaudin is most famous for sitting on the bench during the infamous Girardi binder game so I seriously doubt that he will factor into the Yankees 5th starter decision.