Brewers, Matt Garza agree on a four-year, $50 million deal

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On Thursday, we learned that the Brewers had signed free agent starter Matt Garza to a four-year, $52 million contract. However, the deal was never finalized and talks hit a standstill. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier that the hold-up was related to certain language included in the contract.

Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio says the two sides have a deal “in place”. Garza’s contract is for $50 million over four years and includes $4 million in incentives and a fifth-year vesting option worth $13 million, per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. So, potentially five years and $67 million. The deal is pending MLB and MLBPA approval.

Outfielder Ryan Braun and starter Yovani Gallardo, two Brewer stalwarts, were asked about the Garza deal, recently. Both were quite receptive to the addition.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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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.