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Pirates claim John Axford off waivers from Indians

Aug 14, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

John Axford John Axford

Looking to add more bullpen help after the Jason Grilli-for-Ernesto Frieri swap worked out so horribly the Pirates have acquired right-hander John Axford from the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Axford signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal to be the Indians’ closer, but instead was quickly stripped of ninth-inning duties and has spent most of the season in a setup role without being particularly effective with a 3.91 ERA and 30 walks in 44 innings.

Axford still throws really hard and still misses plenty of bats with 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings, but between his poor control and problems keeping the ball in the ballpark he’s posted a combined 4.25 ERA in 200 appearances since 2012.

In what proved to be his final Indians appearance Axford walked three batters and allowed four runs while recording two outs last week, which inflated his ERA from 3.14 to 3.91. He’ll work in a setup role in front of closer Mark Melancon.

UPDATE: It’s a straight-up waiver claim, so the Indians basically said “OK, take him” to the Pirates, who’re now responsible for the $1.1 million left on Axford’s deal.

  1. brianincbus - Aug 14, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Are the Pirates just trying to collect the worst closers in baseball? When will they trade for Joe Nathan?

    • madhatternalice - Aug 14, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      I hear Kevin Gregg calling.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 14, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      It has worked for the Dodgers…

    • bfunk1978 - Aug 14, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      Working hard to acquire Carlos Marmol first.

  2. uwsptke - Aug 14, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Well, he’s just got the Cubs and Reds left to play for to complete his tour around the NL Central.

    • 78mu - Aug 14, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      I think Theo is too smart to want him pitching for the Cubs.

      The Reds however have a warm spot for washed up ex-Cards. The question is whether Walt will be making decisions long enough to acquire him after the Pirates get tired of him.

  3. largebill - Aug 14, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Addition by subtraction.

  4. wisbadgfan - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Being a Brewer fan, Axford had a fantastic year for the Crew in a playoff year. If I remember correctly he converted on 45 out of 46 save opportunities or something like that.

    He had his longer hair than, and was a very popular guy in Milwaukee.

    He has been less effective the last few years, but I wish the best to Ax—-just not against the Crew.

  5. penguins87and71 - Aug 15, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    At least it makes the Pirates bullpen deeper if not anything else. His pitched in high stress situations before with the Brewers. It’s not like his going to be the 7th inning, 8th inning, or 9th inning guy. He will most likely be a 6th inning guy a long with Wilson. I’d take him over Jeamer Gomez or Stolmy Pimentel.

  6. chuuke - Aug 15, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Sources also indicate Pirates on verge of acquiring 43 year-old right hander Joe Borowski…

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