Indians, Axford reach agreement on deal
Per ESPN's Buster Olney, the Indians have an agreement with free agent right-handed closer John Axford. The deal is pending a physical and terms of the deal are not known at this time.
Axford, 30, appeared in 75 games between the Brewers and Cardinals last season and did not record a save and compiled a 4.02 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9. He has closer’s experience as he has 106 in his career and had a sensational year in 2011 when he racked up a 1.95 ERA and 46 saves, but he has been very inconsistent the last two years and lost his closer’s job after many blown saves. In his five year career he has appeared in 281 games and has a 3.29 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9 and 10.8 K/9.
Axford has three-plus years of service time, so whoever signs him is getting three years of control regardless of whether he signs a one year deal. With that in mind, the assumption would be that his deal would only be for one year.
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Hopefully the Tribe can benefit from the Cardinals work in fixing him.
Interesting note: drop the first four games of the season and Axford's era would have been 2.92.
9th inning may not be much better for those with heart issues though...
The Cards used their scouting reports when they faced him to fix him. Pretty simple he was tipping his FB, they made a minor tweak or two. The results with the Cards were telling.
As for the Cards moving on, he was a rental for them, they have plenty of Pitching depth. Per mlbtraderumors.com he was set to get $5.7 M in arb. I think it's noteworthy the Cards also moved David Freese and Fernando Salas in trades before both got arb raises.
St. Louis is a small mkt team that works with a fairly good size payroll bc of the fan support and product on the field. They had depth in the bullpen and needed some payroll flexibility. They made tough decisions, but look set going into 2014.
Marc Rzepczynski (Scrabble) had a 7.84 ERA when he was traded to Cleveland, and he compiled a 0.89 ERA the rest of the way.
The Indians are gambling that they are getting the good Axford just like they got the good Scrabble. The Cardinals always have great pitching. I wonder if they noticed something wrong with Axford's mechanics, which they fixed when he got to St. Louis. No question he was a different pitcher once he got to the Cardinals.
There were a lot of closers on the market and this is the guy the Tribe homed in on. I wonder what they know that made them choose Axford over all the other options.
Here is the catch, and why the "control" factor probably means little. Assuming the Indians give Axford $5 million for 2014......if he goes out and has a good year he is looking at $7-8M in arbitration next offseason. Sort of align him with the Chris Perez tract. In Perez's ARB1 year he made $4.5M, his arb 2 year he made $7.3M and he was projected to make $10M this year had the Indians offered it to him. I see Axford right around those same amounts the next three years if he has the same kind of showing Perez had, which is quite possible. And I am not sure they will want to pay him $7.3M in 2015....just depends on the payroll situation and just how good he is in 2014. It gives them the flexibility to make that decision without committing to a guaranteed two year deal.
Of course, this is assuming he doesn't get a two-year deal from the Indians (which would be absurd).
It really is interesting that they get Axford and let Smith go.
I'm not sure what the reasoning is on that, unless they felt like Smith's window was smaller than Axfords, but I don't believe that's true, because Axford depends so much on velocity and movement...and he's had issues with both over the past two years...
Maybe Smith just wanted to goto LA...
Tony, you say we are getting three years of control, does that mean if we sign him to a one year contract, he will be arb eligible after the year?
2. Look at the bottom of the page, "similarity scores"
3. With a score of 961 (out of a possible 1000) Axford's identical twin in the MLB is....