Indians president Mark Shapiro expects to sign a closer soon

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Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reports that Indians president Mark Shapiro expects to sign a new closer soon. After releasing Chris Perez at the end of October, the Indians are currently without a closer and prefer to bring in one from outside rather than promote Cody Allen or Bryan Shaw.

Hoynes writes that the Indians have reportedly made a two-year offer to Joaquin Benoit and have also targeted John Axford, Grant Balfour, and Fernando Rodney. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports clarified, saying that the Indians are focused on Axford. Axford was non-tendered by the Cardinals as he was expected to make close to $5 million in arbitration. Since an impressive 2011 season with the Brewers which put him at the back end of NL Cy Young balloting, the right-hander has posted a 4.35 ERA in 134.1 innings.

Jimmy Nelson expected to miss “a chunk” of the 2018 season after shoulder surgery

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Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson recently underwent surgery on his right shoulder. The hope was that it would be a routine procedure, but it ended up being more invasive than expected as he needed a labrum repair. Brewers GM David Stearns said Nelson will likely miss “a chunk” of the 2018 season.

Nelson, 28, ended his 2017 campaign with a 12-6 record, a 3.49 ERA, and a 199/48 K/BB ratio in 175 1/3 innings. He is a big reason why the Brewers are still in contention in the NL Central and in the NL Wild Card race.

Nelson is under team control through 2020, so the Brewers don’t have any pressure to rush him back. The club should know more about his timetable in the offseason.

Padres sign Clayton Richard to a contract extension

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The Padres announced on Wednesday that the club signed pitcher Clayton Richard to a contract extension through the 2019 season. It’s a two-year, $6 million deal, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell.

Executive VP and GM A.J. Preller said, “Clayton has been a steadying presence in our rotation, both on and off the field. He has provided veteran leadership for our young ball club, and his tireless work ethic sets the standard among his peers. We’re extremely excited to have him in a Padres uniform for two more years.”

Richard, 34, is tied for the league lead in losses at 14. Along with that, he has a 4.82 ERA with a 136/55 K/BB ratio in 185 innings. The lefty earned $1.75 million in 2017 and was eligible to become a free agent after the season.