Alfredo Aceves is doing his best to build a terrible relationship with a second straight Red Sox manager, but so far at least there are no reports of Boston being fed up enough to part ways with the reliever.
However, like all arbitration-eligible players who signed one-year deals to avoid a hearing Aceves’ contract is not fully guaranteed.
If released by March 13 the Red Sox would owe Aceves just one-sixth of his deal, which would take them off the hook for $2.2 million of his $2.65 million salary. And if the Red Sox waited a little longer and released Aceves by March 27 they’d owe him one-fourth of the money, saving $1.9875 million.
Over the years there are a few cases of a team releasing a signed player under those rules, but it’s definitely not a common occurrence. Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com speculates that trading Aceves is a more likely option because he probably still has enough value to either get something in return or at least shed his entire salary.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.