Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin indicated that Zack Greinke wanted to test the open market as a free agent no matter what, which obviously played a big part in the Brewers trading him.
However, now that he’s with the Angels there are already questions about whether Greinke might bypass free agency for a big-money deal.
General manager Jerry Dipoto downplayed that possibility, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that the two sides haven’t even discussed a potential contract extension. It’s very early, of course–Greinke has made just one start for his new team–but Gonzalez notes that the Angels will have plenty of money to throw around this offseason with Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, and potentially Ervin Santana and Dan Haren coming off the books.
Greinke has said he was very happy to be traded to the Angels, but compared to the Brewers they may not feel the same sense of urgency to get something done during the season because they’ve shown the ability to out-bid teams for big-name free agents on the open market before.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.