Indians To Sign John Axford

3:06pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Axford can earn an additional $1.75MM worth of incentives, making his contract potentially worth $6.25MM.

MONDAY, 2:45pm: Axford's contract guarantees him $4.5MM in 2014 and also contains incentives, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). That's $1.2MM less than the $5.7MM salary MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected.

SUNDAY, 9:11pm: The financial terms of the deal are unclear, but MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that it will probably be a one-year contract, noting that Axford has two years of arbitration eligibility after this one.

8:46pm: The Indians will sign reliever John Axford, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. Earlier this evening, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Indians were "focused" on Axford.  The righty is represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council.

Axford, who will be 31 in April, posted a 4.02 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 65 innings in 2013, although he got better results after the Brewers traded him to the Cardinals in August for Michael Blazek. Axford's success extended into the postseason, when he allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings spread over six outings. Nonetheless, the Cardinals non-tendered him rather than pay a 2014 salary that would have been inflated as a result of the $5MM Axford made in 2013, his first year of arbitration eligibility.

Axford served as the Brewers' closer for most of the 2010 through 2012 seasons, although he lost that job after a bout of wildness in 2012. Even in 2012, however, Axford struck out 12.1 batters per nine innings, and he still has dominant stuff, with a fastball that averaged 95.3 MPH in 2013. Axford will likely be entrusted with the closer's job in Cleveland, where the Indians were looking to replace the departing Chris Perez.


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51 Comments on "Indians To Sign John Axford"


N.K.T.
1 year 8 months ago

No way he can be worse than Chris Perez

Thunda Pig
1 year 8 months ago

Ohh you will be surprised.

N.K.T.
1 year 8 months ago

Touché

bob smit
1 year 8 months ago

No – can’t be worse. I stick by that.

Shin_Soo_Choo
1 year 8 months ago

Keep in mind: Axford’s ERA over the last two years is worse than Perez’s ERA last year.

Thunda Pig
1 year 8 months ago

Just ask a brewers fan. Here’s a simple reminder: K-rod replaced him as closer. K-rod last couple years, not 04 k-rod

NYBravosFan10
1 year 8 months ago

I hope he turns his career back into dominance…and grows that facial hair back so he can compete with Brian Wilson haha

BRANDON
1 year 8 months ago

This can defintiely be a huge pickup if he returns to his dominant closer self. It will be a tough transition to the AL with the whole DH in play but Ax has hard throwing capabilities.

brian310
1 year 8 months ago

The dh spot being in the lineup isn’t relevant. How often does a closer face a pitcher? Almost never

BRANDON
1 year 8 months ago

yes but not too often is the bench player replacing the pitcher as talented or have as much power as the DH

Jeff Weissbuch
1 year 8 months ago

Very true statement

Dale Pearl
1 year 8 months ago

Cardinals will regret letting this guy walk.

Joe Valenti
1 year 8 months ago

Their bullpen is solid. They really don’t need to take the risk and commit $5M+ to a question mark. You may be right in hindsight, but regardless, they made the right move

1 year 8 months ago

I like him, and I think he’ll be good, but I highly doubt they’ll “regret” it. Too many power arms already

Thunda Pig
1 year 8 months ago

Hahaha… NOPE

Paul Munz
1 year 8 months ago

The Indians finally do something! -thumbs up –
Hope he is better than their last closer!

Shin_Soo_Choo
1 year 8 months ago

You mean the two time Allstar closer who had one bad half season? Sounds a lot like Axford.

bob smit
1 year 8 months ago

Hope he isn’t too pricey, but I’m happy we added another arm

Shin_Soo_Choo
1 year 8 months ago

Too pricey? This is the Indians were talking about.

Seamaholic
1 year 8 months ago

I don’t understand how someone could be a free agent and still have arbitration eligibility … Can someone explain?

rouscher
1 year 8 months ago

Because of him being nontendered he doesnt get arbitration, but instead he’ll sign a deal that will over see what could have been this years arbitration, so he still has the two years left, bottom line: this one year deal covers this year, if it ends up being a three year deal itll cover the next two also, so its just covering this year, sorry i hope i didnt make that sound confusing!

Jack
1 year 8 months ago

The brewers did not tender him a contract effectively letting him go and free to sign elsewhere.

bryce1344
1 year 8 months ago

Huh, Cards did not tender him a contract.

1 year 8 months ago

What these guys said, but the saves and proven closer basically made him too expensive, so he got non-tendered after non-performance.

Joe Valenti
1 year 8 months ago

To my understanding (and others can correct me if I’m wrong) arbitration is basically a service time clock. It only runs as long as you are playing at the MLB level. So, in Axford’s case, he is only a free agent because he was non-tendered, but he still has 3 years on his clock so signing him to a one year deal will mean that he will go through arbitration twice after this season.

Mil8Ball
1 year 8 months ago

Anyone hoping he will become dominate again can keep dreaming. That dominate stuff is gone and he was never as good as his numbers were in 2011. But I still think he can be a good 7th inning guy or a set up man in a pinch. Probably good for a mid 3ERA…still a nice quality arm.

Jason
1 year 8 months ago

I really hope they’re not bringing him in as the “closer,” but he could potentially replace Joe Smith’s job as a back end guy if he can kind of pick himself up from his recent troubles. I hope.

1948Indians
1 year 8 months ago

“Challenge accepted”- Mickey Callaway

Joe Valenti
1 year 8 months ago

His issues were never really his stuff. His issues were with control. Control is much easier to fix, especially considering he once established that he had it

Shin_Soo_Choo
1 year 8 months ago

He will have the inside track for closer in 2014. Francona already expressed his preference to bring in a closer from outside the organization and keep the existing arms in their original roles next season. Of course this could all be turned on its head if Axford stinks, but it is his job to lose.

1 year 8 months ago

Um, yes, he was as good as his numbers showed. And yes, the dominate stuff is still there – a mid 90’s + with a 12-6 hammer of a curveball.

Whether or not he is successful is entirely dependent on whether or not he can consistently throw strikes with his curveball and, accordingly, mess with hitters’ eye levels.

When he has command of those two offerings, I’d take him over any closer in the league not named Kimbrel.

Mil8Ball
1 year 8 months ago

His mid 90’s fastball isn’t dominate. Its so straight speed does nothing for him. I will take a guy throwing 90 with movement any day of the week over Axfords fastball. Axford knows this and that’s why he throws so much slower now. He sacrificed speed for control.

Axford isn’t dominate anymore and seems like he can’t pitch the 9th either. He just isn’t anything like the 2011 version.

1 year 8 months ago

Average Fastball Velocity — 2009: 94.0 — 2010: 94..9 — 2011: 95.5 — 2012: 96.1 — 2013: 95.3

He’s not throwing any slower. Like I said before, his dominance is dependent on throwing the curveball for strikes. If he can’t get it over the plate, hitters can just sit on a straight, 95 MPH fastball. If he is dropping it in for strikes, hitters can’t sit on his fastball.

The most obvious sign of his success/struggles is whether or not players are chasing his chest high fastballs, because they have it in their mind that it could be a curveball diving into the zone. If the curveball isn’t working, they have no reason to chase high pitches to fend off a potential curveball.

guest
1 year 8 months ago

how the met’s didn’t sign Ax is beyond me. and the reason they will never be a credible organization.

sgtschmidt11
1 year 8 months ago

Not signing a reliever who had a considerable bad stretch is why the Mets aren’t credible? okaaaaaaayyyyyyy

Joe Valenti
1 year 8 months ago

Obviously it is dependent on the money but I’m not sure how I feel about this signing. I’m not sure I would be comfortable with him as the closer going into a season for any team. That being said, if he finds himself he could be a bargain

WazBazbo
1 year 8 months ago

I heard 10 years, $240 million. Wait… that might be another thread…

josh adkins
1 year 8 months ago

I like the signing for around 3m, also believe that he would be best suited for the set up role. Cody Allen’s are best RP, he should be closer

Avory
1 year 8 months ago

Ideally, the best two pitchers in any bullpen should be used as needed, not locked into starting the 9th inning with a lead…that’s a waste. Fortunately, the Tribe WILL use Axford as closer, leaving their best two arms, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw to roam at will through the 6-8th innings when needed in truly high leverage situations. This is an intelligent use of a bullpen, even if paying dear for save statistics isn’t.

Shin_Soo_Choo
1 year 8 months ago

A team’s best RP is often the setup man.

Ivan Verastica
1 year 8 months ago

I wanted the Padres to sign him. Now we have to go all in on Benoit to fill Gregerson’s hole.

wade3061
1 year 8 months ago

Yeah, why the heck did they trade Gregerson in the first place? smh

Sufferfortribe
1 year 8 months ago

The Ax Man………….sounds good to me!
GO TRIBE!!

Maria Morphizo
1 year 8 months ago

Good luck John-we loved your time as a Cardinal and will miss you and Chief.

discollama
1 year 8 months ago

Why Cleveland?! Why?! You just kicked out a carbon copy of this guy and now you sign Axford in free agency?! I’d rather not suffer the drama of the 9th inning when the Tribe has the lead!

bob smit
1 year 8 months ago

Because this guy is baseline better, with potential to be much better, especially under the tutelage of Callaway.

Babs
1 year 8 months ago

Not to mention now that we have the financials, cheaper than Perez, too.

discollama
1 year 8 months ago

I really wouldn’t say that’s he’s baseline better than Perez , but I agree that he has much higher upside. I just don’t understand the love that the Indians are showing for a guy who has even worse control than Perez, and showed a declining K/9, and had very similar peripherals to Perez last year.

craigcounsellhitsbombs
1 year 8 months ago

Enjoy him, Cleveland. He’s probably one of the best personalities in baseball. You guys will love him!

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 8 months ago

At 1/4.5 Ax is well worth the risk. He is not likely to post a BABIP above .300 again next year. If he can get the HR/9 under control he will be a dominant force again.

Devin Ruffner
1 year 8 months ago

great deal. if perez was due to earn around $9M, we’re getting a guy who should give us roughly the same results for half the price. really solid move here.