The Red sox were dealt a difficult blow in the offseason, when longtime closer Jonathan Papelbon chased the money right out of the Boston bullpen and straight to Philadelphia. But it appears the Red Sox may have had their own far-cheaper version of Papelbon in house all along.
Alfredo Aceves, the Red Sox reliable right-hander, is set to take over the team's closing role starting Thursday in Detroit. Aceves fell into the role after Andrew Bailey, the closer originally acquired to replace Papelbon over the Winter, was forced to have thumb surgery on Tuesday.
Bailey is expected to be out for at least a few months, but Aceves may be the perfect guy to usurp that role at the back of the Boston pen, anyhow. Aceves is an emotional pitcher and looks to have the same sort of swagger that Papelbon displayed during his six years in Boston.
Cody Ross, much like Aceves, was a cheap replacement option to fulfill the Red Sox' right-field needs this offseason. Ross not only impressed, but completely wowed spectators this Spring, blasting a preseason high six home runs and looking to have that natural Fenway swing to capitalize on the short porch of the Green Monster.
Ross could very well break out in similar fashion to that of Jacoby Ellsbury from the 2011 season, at least according to NESN.com Red Sox beat writer Didier Morais.
NESN.com's Luke Hughes caught up with Morais in preparation of Opening Day to discuss everything from Bailey's injury and Aceves outlook to the weekend series with the Detroit Tigers and Jon Lester's anticipation for his Opening Day start. Heck, Morais even tossed around some big-time predictions for the 2012 season, including some favorites to take home the World Series trophy come October.
Take a listen to this week's podcast and find out all you need to know about your Boston Red Sox heading into the regular season.
Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison