ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the Indians are expected to sign free agent reliever John Axford. We learned earlier that Indians president Mark Shapiro was expecting to sign a reliever soon and he moved quickly in talks with Axford.
Axford was non-tendered by the Cardinals on December 2 and has drawn interest from a number of teams, including the Orioles, Cubs, and Mariners. The right-hander should be expected to close, while Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw remain in their eighth-inning roles. Axford had lost his role as closer with the Brewers to Jim Henderson, and the Brewers eventually traded Axford to the Cardinals for Michael Blazek at the end of August, so it will be compelling to see if he can bounce back in the ninth inning.
Update: MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian confirms. The deal is pending a physical. Bastian adds:
No details yet, but Axford’s deal is likely a 1-year pact due to his having two more arbitration years after the coming season.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 16, 2013