The Blue Jays are in agreement on a contract with reliever John Axford, reports Jamie Campbell of Sportsnet (Twitter link). The 38-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2018.
Axford is best known for his early-career stint with the Brewers. He pitched to a 3.35 ERA with Milwaukee between 2009-13, compiling an MLB-leading 46 saves in 2011. As he entered his 30’s, the righty became something of a journeyman. He would go on to suit up for the Cardinals, Indians, Pirates, Rockies, A’s, Blue Jays and Dodgers over the next five years.
A Canada native, Axford signed a minors pact with the Jays in 2019 but spent essentially the entire season on the minor league injured list. His hope of a comeback in 2020 was derailed by the pandemic, but he’ll now return to affiliated ball. The Blue Jays relief corps has scuffled in recent weeks, with general manager Ross Atkins telling reporters today that upgrading the bullpen is a priority. Certainly, the Axford signing won’t stop the front office from continuing to hunt for external options, but there’s little risk in adding the veteran to the organization as non-roster depth.