Mortensen-se and sensibility

How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man? These lyrics might aptly describe the career of Clayton Mortensen. In four years Mortensen has appeared on the major league roster of 4 teams and also appeared in the minor leagues for the Sacramento River Cats, Memphis Redbirds, Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Portland Sea Dogs and the Pawtucket Red Sox.

This year Mortensen finally made an opening day roster, commenting “It’s exciting. First big-league Opening Day roster. It was pretty cool”.

Unsurprisingly Mortensen is now out of options, and would have to be exposed to waivers should the Red Sox want to move him back to the minors.

So here’s a question, if you were a team looking over the players on waivers and you saw player A: a 27 year old with a 3.21 ERA in 2012, and then player B: a 30 year old with a 5.36 ERA last year, which would you think about claiming?

Player A is Clayton Mortensen and player B is Alfredo Aceves.

While Mortensen posted career best numbers in 2012 for Aceves it was a tumultuous year. Poor performances, spats and eventually a three game suspension for a disagreement with Bobby Valentine.  His 5.36 ERA was really the only high point. Then as spring training began in earnest,  a time when the Sox needed to show they were different to the petulant, selfish image that had grown over the previous season, Aceves decided to ‘challenge’ new manager John Farrell by lobbing balls to the plate in his first batting practice stint.

The world baseball classic provided another insight into Aceves’ character, when a hit by pitch ended up in a mass brawl where Canadian first base coach, Larry Walker, would find himself trying to restrain Aceves.  He would comment later that “I had a hold of him, and I think I saw Satan in his eyes”.

However unpredictable Aceves has been, people have always pointed to his statistics, the need for a competitor on the team or his ‘pitch everyday’ rubber arm but the truth is Mortensen had comparable (if not better) statistics last year and I’d rather have the Mortensen’s of the world on my team every time.

I hope the Red Sox see sense when Morales and Breslow return and leave Aceves blowing in the wind.

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