The Colorado Rockies have signed right-handed pitcher John Axford to a minor-league deal with an ivitation to major league spring training, according to the team’s transaction page. Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that Axford will make a base salary of $2.6 million if he makes the team. He can earn up to $4.1 million with performance based incentives.
This will be Axford’s fifth team in the past three seasons.
Axford, 31, pitched with both the Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates last season. He saved 10 games in his 62 appearances. Axford started as the closer for the Indians last season but quickly lost him job. He was then traded to the Pirates in August after a waiver claim. Axford struck out 10.4 batters per nine innings last season but also walked 5.9 per nine innings.
Axford will compete for a spot in the bullpen that includes new acquisitions Gus Schlosser and David Hale along with Tommy Kahnle, Boone Logan and LaTroy Hawkins. It would appear as though he has a good shot of making the major league club out of spring training. He would most likely set up for Hawkins.
The Rockies are going with ground ball pitchers in Coors Field, which is known to be a hitter friendly park, due to the thin air. Axfod had a ground ball rate of 53.6 in 2014.
In parts of six major league seasons, Axford owns a 3.40 ERA and 116 saves. His best season came in 2011 when he posted a 1.95 ERA and saves 46 games for the Milwaukee Brewers. Axford also pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.