Red Sox sign former Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox have agreed to a major-league contract with reliever Alfredo Aceves, who spent the past three seasons pitching for the Yankees.

New York non-tendered Aceves after he was limited to just 12 innings last season because of a back injury and then suffered a broken left clavicle during a bike-riding accident in Mexico.

Barring a setback he’s expected to be ready by March and he’s a nice buy-low pickup after posting a 3.21 ERA and 87/30 K/BB ratio in 126 innings spread over 54 relief appearances and five starts. If healthy the 28-year-old right-hander will work middle relief for the Red Sox.

UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com says the deal is worth $650,000, plus another $100,000 in possible incentives. Very worthwhile flier for Boston.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.