Three arbitration awards were handed down today. All three involved starting pitchers. All three starting pitchers got the W: Trevor Bauer of the Indians, Gerrit Cole of the Astros, and Alex Wood of the Reds all prevailed and will get the salaries they sought for 2019.
Bauer will earn a $13 million, rather than the $11 million for which the Indians filed. Cole, Bauer’s old college frenemy, will make a $13.5 million salary rather than the $11,425,000 the Astros wanted to pay. Wood will get $9.65 million. Cincinnati filed at $8.7 million.
For the offseason so far that puts the player up 6-3 over the owners in the nine cases to go to a hearing thus far. No, there is no trophy for whichever side wins that. It’s baseball. We just count everything.
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.