The A’s announced on Tuesday that they’ve released veteran righty John Axford. The former Brewers/Rockies/Indians closer was designated for assignment last week and is now a free agent.
Axford, 34, signed a two-year, $10MM contract with Oakland prior to the 2016 season and had a respectable first year, logging a 3.97 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 54.2 percent ground-ball rate in 65 2/3 innings. That 4.1 BB/9 rate was his best mark since 2013, but his control once again took a step back in 2017. Through just 21 innings this year, Axford has issued 17 walks and also hit two batters. On the plus side, he’s also picked up 21 strikeouts, posted a 50 percent ground-ball rate and averaged 95 mph on his fastball.
He’s earning $5.5MM this season in the second year of that contract, but any team that signs Axford will owe him just the pro-rated portion of the league minimum (for any time spent in the Majors). That amounts to about $181K through season’s end, and that number will continue to decrease with each passing day. Any money he is paid by his new team will be subtracted from what the A’s owe him for the rest of the year (~$1.86MM).