The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney and Ken Rosenthal report that the Cubs have signed reliever Xavier Cedeño to a one-year, $900,000 non-guaranteed contract.
Cedeño, 32, had quite a good season with the White Sox and Brewers last season, posting an aggregate 2.43 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 16 walks over 33 1/3 innings. The Brewers acquired him just ahead of the August 31 waiver trade deadline. Cedeño delivered, posting a 1.13 ERA in 15 appearances in the final month.
The Cubs have a handful of lefties already battling for spots in the bullpen with Mike Montgomery, Brian Duensing, Randy Rosario, and Kyle Ryan, so Cedeño will need to have a strong spring showing in order to make the Opening Day roster.
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.