Yesterday, we passed along that the Cleveland Indians were on the verge of signing an “experienced” bullpen arm, and probably one that will contend for the closer’s job come spring training.
Tonight, we find out from ESPN’s Buster Olney that the veteran reliever to be added by manager Terry Francona’s squad is former Brewers closer and Cardinals setup man John Axford.
After saving 46 games in 2011 for Milwaukee and posting a 1.95 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, Axford imploded in 2012, blowing a number of saves before being removed from the closer’s role and not saving a single game for the Brewers in 2013 before being dealt to St. Louis.
Axford was very good out of the bullpen for the Cardinals down the stretch, putting up a 1.74 ERA over 13 regular season games, and pitching very well in the 2013 postseason. Given Axford’s much documented drop in velocity and struggles in 2012 and early in 2013, it will be interesting to see if the Indians just go ahead and hand over the closer’s job to Axford.