Pirates acquire reliever John Axford from Indians

John Axford

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Well, it was fun while it lasted. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Pirates have acquired reliever John Axford from the Cleveland Indians, just a few months after signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal.

Despite the success of current Tribe closer Cody Allen, Manager Terry Francona said earlier this month that the team’s eventual goal is to have Axford return to the closer’s role. He was in the midst of a decent stretch, pitching well enough to be the team’s closer, getting his ERA down to 3.14 and recording a save earlier this month before allowing a grand slam to the New York Yankees roughly one week ago.

In his 49 games with Cleveland, Axford went 2-3 with 10 saves, two holds, 51 strikeouts and 30 walks in 43 2/3 innings of work.  It’s a straight-up waiver claim, so the Indians essentially said “Here—you guys pay him” to the Pirates, who are currently a half game ahead in the NL Wild Card standings and are now responsible for the $1.1 million left on the reliever’s deal.

Now about that “Unfinished Business…”

  • Natedawg86

    Good mustache, bad pitching

  • JNeids

    With great mustache comes great responsibility.

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/-CObG-J8o4s/hqdefault.jpg

  • Anthony V.

    Can Ryan Raybum be next?

  • markn95

    I wish…but the team picking him up would have to be more desperate for a right-handed bat than the Tribe, and I’m not sure that team exists :)

  • markn95

    Along with Masterson and Cabrera’s expiring contracts, Axford’s $4.5 means there is approx. $24.5 million coming off the books for next year’s payroll. Per baseball-reference.com, the contracts for Brantley, Kipnis, Santana, Gomes, Murphy, and Raburn have built-in raises for $9.5 million. Seven other guys are arbitration eligible. I can see the club signing Chiz and Kluber to long term deals but the money on those will be tacked on towards the end, a la Kip’s deal. So, bottom line is that the team should have close to $10M or so to spend in FA this offseason without topping this year’s payroll.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Don’t get your hopes up if they do it’ll be 4 guys at $2.5M each.

  • woofersus

    They’re also going to save $1M on Giambi, who won’t be back, at least as a player. They have a club option on Aviles for $3.5M as well. It’s possible they’ll pick it up, but depending on how they feel about Ramirez, Walters, and possibly Lindor, they may not. He’s going to be 34 next year and isn’t exactly lighting a fire at the plate.

  • Natedawg86

    I don’t mind aviles, but O don’t know if he has 3.5M worth of production. Rameriz needs to progress a little more, but who knows if he will. He may be our bench guy, but usually you like those guys to be leaders in the dugout since they aren’t playing every day. I don’t know if he has that.

  • woofersus

    The veteran leadership thing is really the wildcard on Aviles. He’s versatile too, which Francona loves. I wouldn’t be shocked either way, really, but I’m leaning toward them picking it up. It just seems like the infield suddenly got super crowded. Ramirez, Walters, Lindor, and Aviles can play SS, Chisenhall, Santana, Aviles, and Walters can play 3rd, Gomes, Santana, and Perez can catch, I’m sure at least three of those guys can play 2nd, etc.

    If only more than two of those guys were any good at those positions, lol.

  • nj0

    It’s really not a lot to play with considering how much free agency costs. $10M a year puts you in Dan Haren territory.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    He’d have a spot in the Indians rotation!

  • mgbode

    4.5 ERA, 4.4 FIP in the NL.

    None of the Indian’s starters have worse numbers than him and that is pitching in the AL (argument can be made for Salazar I guess).

  • nj0

    According to my calculations, a shift to the AL and pitching in front of the Indians defense would result in an ERA north of 6.50.

  • mgbode

    replying to both you and nate:
    I absolutely hate the idea of keeping anyone on the bench for veteran leadership. I understand the argument of having a young guy play every day in AAA, but I do not understand the argument that you’d rather have a lesser player on your 25man just because they might be a cool guy to hang around.

    sorry, just a major pet peeve of mine.

  • Natedawg86

    Only way which this plays in and I am fine with it, is when you can have a guy that hits around .250 that is versitile and reliable on D. I don’t like bringing up youngsters only to have them ride the pine with no opportunities.

  • woofersus

    Yeah, I don’t really disagree either, but I’m speculating that it might be a factor for the Frapironetti triumvirate. He’s less of a stretch to bring back than Giambi was.

  • John Rocker

    I highly doubt they’ll sign Kluber to a long term deal. The last pitcher they signed to a contract over 1 year was Jake Westbrook, while they’ve been giving out numerous extensions to position players. I think they’re philosophically against extensions for pitchers, maybe due to Tommy John risk.