Cashman speaks up about non-tendering Aceves

2011 AL East Busts: part 1 of 2
Open Thread: March 5th Camp Notes
Easy on the back, Ace. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

One the biggest surprises of the Yankees offseason was the non-tendering of The Mexican Gangster, Al Aceves. Ace eventually went on to sign a guaranteed Major League contract with the Red Sox, which of course drew the ire of some fans. It’s completely understandable, Aceves was fantastic in pinstripes (particularly in 2009) and a likable dude, so it sucks seeing him go to Boston. PeteAbe caught up with Brian Cashman yesterday, who spoke about the decision to cut Aceves and the team’s efforts to re-sign him…

“I offered him a minor league contract; that was it. I wasn’t going to do anything more than that,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said tonight.


“Because of the back issue, we could not give him [a major league contract]. He was throwing off the mound for us and he always hit a wall,” Cashman said. “So we ultimately continued to fail throughout the entire process to get him off the DL and active. He had a lot of success for a period of time, but then ultimately we’d had to take steps back and we’d have to shut him down and re-do the treatment.

“We decided to non-tender him and offer him a non-guaranteed deal. But obviously when healthy you certainly know what he can do.”

Aceves originally injured his back in Fenway Park on May 8th, and he didn’t pitch in the big leagues again. He made it to Triple-A on a rehab assignment in early-August before suffering a setback, then again made it to Triple-A on another rehab assignment a few weeks later before suffering another setback, this time a season-ender. Aceves then needed surgery after breaking his collarbone while riding his bike during the offseason, an activity that may or may not have been a) part of his rehab, or b) completely forbidden by the team/doctors given his back. As far as we know, he never had surgery to repair the bulging disc in his back despite rumors that he would.

It’s entirely possible that the Yankees screwed up here and were wrong about the health of Aceves’ back, an error that would be compounded by his defection to their biggest rival. It’s also possible – actually very likely – that the Yanks and their medical staff know him better than anyone and decided to move on. If there’s one thing I know about back injuries, it’s that they don’t just go away, especially without surgery. If Aceves is healthy though, boy wouldn’t it be nice to have him in camp as a fifth starter candidate right now?

As I’ve said before, I like Ace and wish him the best of luck, just not when he can do something to hurt the Yankees.

2011 AL East Busts: part 1 of 2
Open Thread: March 5th Camp Notes
  • Chops

    I’ve enjoyed Cashman’s transparency lately.

  • jramey

    what an ugly picture. sorry Ace, red doesn’t work on you

  • AndrewYF

    Eh, Nova and Garcia are better options at SP than Aceves, even if he didn’t need back surgery. I’d take him over Mitre or Colon, but that’s a last-man-in-the-bullpen thing.

    • Sayid J.

      If healthy, I think he’d be right there with Nova and Garcia for the 5th starter job. And worst case scenario, he would’ve been a great swingman for the bullpen. If Aceves had been our long-man/last-mean-in-the-pen, would’ve added even more depth to an already great bullpen.

  • Bill

    Didn’t pitch badly today.

    • Zack

      It’s not about today; it’s about when he bends over to tie his shoe in a month and his back gives out again.

  • Tom in Georgia

    He was good for us, did what he was asked, and will come back to trouble us. Still, I wish him well.

    • Tom in Georgia

      But I agree, he looks awful in red.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    I like Ace and wish him the best of luck, just not when he can do something to hurt the Yankees.

    But whatever he does to help the Sux, hurts the Yanks, no?

    I also liked Ace, but as long as he plays for Boston, I hope he gets lit up like a Christmas tree every time he sets foot on the mound.

    After they cut him and he goes to the NL, I’ll root for him again.

    • Mike HC

      Gotta agree. Tough to still root for the guy when he plays for the Sox.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    True its that awful uniform & team…would have felt thesame if say Jeter didn’t sign & went to Sox.

    But I do love the fact the got CC , Jenks A-Gon. b/c t makes em stronger which is great for the best rivalry in all of sports…I just hope if they get off to a quick start Hank doesn’t panic & trades half our prospects & minor league system for a veteran SP

  • NJYankeeFan

    If Ace was healthy, he’d be the best candidate from the Nova/Garcia/Colon group as far as ceiling since at one time many thought he had the stuff and make up to be a 3rd or 4th starter. Back’s are tricky but Randy Johnson had 2 or 3 surgeries during his career that he was able to overcome. I sure hope Cashman is right because for a few hundred K, it’s gonna hurt if he does come back strong.

  • Brian in NH

    Even with surgery back injuries don’t often go away completely. He’ll be dealing his whole career with it. I liked him but I think it was a smart move.