This hadn’t occurred to me, but my HBT colleague Bill Baer notes something amiss with the Phillies’ season plan over at Crashburn Alley: Michael Young’s signing was accompanied by talk about building a better clubhouse, but then the team goes out and gets Delmon Young and now Carlos Zambrano. Who, for all of their charms, have never been mistaken for good clubhouse guys. Particularly Zambrano.
It’s almost as if teams sign whoever they can and laud them with whatever handy label they have at their disposal at the time to make everyone think there’s more of a plan and philosophy in place than there really is.
But I do sort of hope this works, even if it means the Phillies winning a lot of games. Because I think it would put to rest the whole idea of good citizens making for good baseball teams, chemistry mattering and all that jazz.
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.