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MLB News and Rumors: Indians find new closer in Axford

MLB News and Rumors: Indians find new closer in Axford
December 16, 2013
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With the offseason now in full spring, news will continue to become more and more frequent. In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Sunday, December 15th.

Top Stories

  • ESPN's Buster Olney was the first to report that the Indians and reliever John Axford have agreed to a deal. Indians beat writer for Jordan Bastian stated that the deal will likely be for one year, noting that Axford still has two years of arbitration eligibility after the 2014 season. Axford is expected to assume the 9th inning duties for the Tribe. Stay updated with the IBI on all of the news, information, and insight on the Axford signing.
  • The Cardinals reached a one-year deal with second baseman Mark Ellis. Ellis, 36, will provide some protection for St. Louis in case rookie second baseman Kolten Wong has any prolonged struggles.

Other News and Notes

  • According to ESPN Radio's Ian O'Conner, the Yankees have "absolutely no intention" of trading Brett Gardner.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that four teams have offered Bronson Arroyo two-year deals, but Arroyo is currently holding out for a three-year contract.

User Comments

December 17, 2013 - 1:36 PM EST

as for the 2 am poker careful what you ask for.

I am in Phoenix and D'backs fans are enduring 'gunslinger' Towers. Last year Di Di Gregorious was the second coming of Derek Jeter (Towers own words - 'reminds me of Jeter') and we got Bauer they got Sipp in the big Choo 3 way - remember?

Well Di Di is already on the block rumor and probably will be backing up a wiz kid THAT WAS ALREADY IN THE ORGANIZATION when Towers pulled that trigger.

He also traded Ian Kennedy STRAIGHT UP for a situation lefty - from his old org San Diego who now has the D'backs old GM -(Cleve alum Josh Byrnes) the same Ian Kennedy that just two years ago was a #1 starter - won 20 and was 2nd in the Cy Young vote.

Gone for a 'specialist' to replace Sipp. Wow.

Besides Those head scratchers he has traded away;

Jarrod Parker
Tyler Skaggs
Adam Eaton
Matt Davidson

Not only has Kenny Williams pitched his tent for a revival - both the A's and the Angels have... time will tell, but both Eaton and Davidson had stellar showings @ AA & AAA and were highly regarded by many many orgs.

Oh, and besides giving up on Bauer with us he also gave up on Justin Upton ... shipped off to the Braves...attidude and close to MVP #'s and all.

So what did he do this year? Get a bat in Trumbo. Because maybe they missed....Upton?

Towers has a division title to his credit - HIS FIRST YEAR WITH LARGELY THE TEAM HE INHERITED....

AND...two seasons at 81 & 81.

Now he has a hot seat and a lot to prove...or answer for.

I could go in Toronto...or...Florida... or the Mess Terry Ryan is trying to clean up in our own division in Minn.

Too many Cleveland fans don't appreciate how good they have it with this FO. Another shot at the WS will change that.

Merry Xmas Shap/Ant.
December 17, 2013 - 1:15 PM EST

right on...besides being right, it is Xmas. And Ant is a little guy.

Have you hugged your GM today?

I'd say yes, and thank you for setting the example!
December 17, 2013 - 9:18 AM EST

Chapman is actually going to get around $7.5M this year. The $4.6M being projected in arbitration doesn't include the $3M bonus he will get getting. Also, where did you see he wants out of Cincy? Talk has been he doesn't want to start but haven't seen anything saying he wants out of Cincy.

Also...don't get your Antonetti hate here. So he didn't pull off a 3-team trade so far....he DID pull one off last winter, so he apparently does get "invited" to these poker games. Antonetti took a lot of heat for that Ubaldo trade...but that actually is looking like a great deal for the Tribe now. Not a single player left on the Rockies and the Tribe rode Ubaldo to the playoffs.
December 16, 2013 - 5:14 PM EST
Chapman doesn't want out of Cincinnati. He wants to be a closer. The Reds feels his stuff could be better used as a starter. The fans down here go nuts every time he enters the game. Reds fans would revolt if they were to trade Chapman. He was part the reason why the Reds drew about 2.2mil last year. An Indian fan, former Clevelander living in Reds country.
December 16, 2013 - 5:00 PM EST
Rick- perhaps Antonetti CAN play poker at the big boy's table. The problem is he doesn't get invited to the game. To get invited to the 2 am brainstorming meeting where you see a 3 team Angels, White Sox, DBacks deal you have to one of 2 things- baseball street cred, or personality. IMO Antonetti has neither. Aroldis Chapman will make the same or less this year than Jon Axford and he wants out of Cincinatti. I would venture to guess Chris Antonetti couldn't tell you anything about the situation.
December 16, 2013 - 4:23 PM EST
Assuming the incentives will be tied to games finished. If so, think this is an ok deal. More than I'd have liked and still think Mujica would have been a better grab but Axford does have the Ks that one would like from the backend. If he can gain any control, could be a steal. Sideways move right now from Perez (at worst) but at a reduced cost.

Payroll is a tad over $83M now by my count. Would seem to indicate it's maxed out (or near it)...barring a big trade.
December 16, 2013 - 4:15 PM EST
Per Rosenthal Axford could earn up to $1.75 M in incentives, bringing his one yr deal potentially up to $6.25 M IF he hits the incentives.

In other news...on the Indians front Matt Albers has signed with the Houston Astros for about $2.5 M with an option yr.
December 16, 2013 - 4:10 PM EST
Per Rosenthal on Twitter Axford gets 1yr / $4.5 M plus incentives. Sounds similar to the Mujica deal. Signing Axford for $1.2 M less than he was projected ($5.7 in arb) should help keep his cost down a bit over the course of the next few yrs.

In other news....The White Sox traded their CL Addison Reed to the Dbax for Matt Davidson. Apparently, the Dbax are not sitting back, they are making some aggressive moves to fill team needs, getting some good controllable pieces in return. Davidson is an interest bat, Reed gives the Dbax a young affordable CL.
December 16, 2013 - 2:49 PM EST
Well a need was addressed.....I guess.

I don't agree Shy that Shap/Ant - particularly the smaller guy now in charge - can't play poker at the big boy table.

I'm not thrilled about this but instead see it as a good sign that Antonetti is willing to spend - and compromise - to suit Tito's wishes.

Right now on paper and given LAST YEARS performance Detroit and KC have far better Pens heading into the upcoming. Still, Axford was useful in St. Louis, even if not as a closer. So if he does crap out again as he did w/the Brewers, he can swallow hard (and us as well) and pitch middle or set up.

AS for our rivals, again I trust Tito. KC had a lights out pen last year and still fell way short of us. Nor do I buy that we fell a game short because of our pen.

It is Detroit we are going to chase again, and it's because of the their starting 5, not the pen.

Tony has convinced me that it's our small market lot to learn to live with in-house development when it comes to the Pen.
another lame brohio shirt
December 16, 2013 - 2:26 PM EST
get cody allen ready, this guys blows a lot of saves and really struggled last year with milwaukee
December 16, 2013 - 12:35 PM EST
It doesn't matter how" cheap" Axford is at 5mil if he can't close and I don't think he can. He's another Chris Perez, pure torture. for Indians fans and wanna win players. A straight up buzz-killer. At the end of the season you take the his blown save total and compare it to the Indians final GB behind the Royals or TIgers and you'll see how important it is to have a good closer. Antonetti can't do high impact deals with other GM's; he doesn't have the savvy or the chutzpah. He ends up dumpster diving all the time. I'm sick of it. Every team in this division has improved themselves for 2014 except the Indians. Not a way to win fan enthusiasm.
CA is Gei...
December 16, 2013 - 11:46 AM EST
Indians should sign Scott Baker. That is a no-brainer
December 16, 2013 - 9:24 AM EST

I completely agree. I'm pretty sure he gets $5 M or less. That should give them maybe $5 M to spend on SP IF they spend the $10 M they would have reportedly given Bartolo Colon.

There are still SP options out there, Scott Baker, Tommy Hanson, Paul Maholm, Jason Hammel, and even Bronson Arroyo IF they spend more. IF they move ACab or Bourn in the next week or two, they might go after Garza (doubtful!) or Jimenez.
December 16, 2013 - 9:06 AM EST
If the deal is for under 5 million I'm just fine with Axford's signing. Anywhere north of that and I would question it a bit, wouldn't be totally sour on it unless were talking 7-9 million like Balfour or Benoit are rumored to have been offered.

Remember, let's continue to see how things play out in the coming weeks before people lose their s**t over everything.

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