Red Sox could save $2.2 million by releasing Alfredo Aceves

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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.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.