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Cubs, Orioles and Mariners among teams with interest in free agent reliever John Axford

Dec 8, 2013, 2:44 PM EDT

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John Axford was non-tendered by the Cardinals earlier this month, but the 30-year-old right-hander won’t have trouble finding a new place to pitch.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs, Orioles and Mariners have all expressed interest in Axford since the Cardinals let him go. And those teams may even offer him the opportunity to close.

Axford has registered a pedestrian 4.35 ERA in 134 1/3 innings since the start of the 2012 season, but he was one of the most dominant ninth inning men in baseball in 2011 and he still possesses a high-90s fastball. He posted a 1.74 ERA in 13 appearances this year for St. Louis after being acquired from the Brewers in a late-season trade, showing signs of a turnaround. The Cardinals non-tendered him because he was due a raise over the $5 million salary he made in 2013 — his first year of arbitration eligibility.

  1. spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Uh Drew, the Cardinals non-tendered him cause they have better options. The money might have played a minor role in their decision making, but mostly it was because they have better, younger arms.

    • Drew Silva - Dec 8, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      If they thought he was worth the money, they would’ve paid him. Can never have too many good players. I think it’s more about the cash.

      • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Nah, the Cards are flush. St. Louis has a plethora of young arms much better than Axford. Why pay for someone who you have no place to play. He was acquired for protection down the stretch, pitched well, but not well enough to secure a spot on their 25 man roster, and would balk at being outrighted, so the Cards brass did the prudent thing.

  2. fomeols - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    The Orioles already have a bunch of mediocre pitchers.
    What attributes does this particular thrower have that makes him desirable?
    Aside from cost… The Orioles really care about cost… Much more than quality.

  3. rcali - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    I would rather put the ball on a tee for the other team in the ninth inning then run this guy out there.

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