The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed free agent RHP JOHN AXFORD to a Major League Contract.
Axford, 30, owns a career Major League record of 22-19 with a 3.29ERA and 106 saves in 281 relief appearances (273.2IP, 240H, 100ER, 329K) with the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals since debuting in 2009. He tied for the National League lead (Craig Kimbrel/ATL) with 46 saves in 48 opportunities in 2011 and finished 6th in the NL in saves (35) the following season. His 49 straight save conversions stretching over 2011-2012 represent the fourth longest streak in MLB history. The Simcoe, Ontario native, who played collegiately at Notre Dame and Canisius (NY), began his professional career in 2007 in the Yankees system before latching on with the Brewers organization prior to the 2008 season.
The hard-throwing right-hander split the 2013 season between Milwaukee and St. Louis, going a combined 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA in 75 relief appearances (65.0IP, 73H, 29ER, 26BB, 65K). He finished tied for 4th in the NL in games pitched and recorded a Postseason ERA of 1.59 in 6 games for the National League Champion Cardinals (5.2IP, 2H, 1ER, 9K, .105AVG) after posting scoreless outings over his final nine regular season appearances (7.2IP, 11K) for St. Louis. After recording an April ERA of 8.44, Axford enjoyed a stretch from May 15-July 24 where he allowed just 1 run (1ER/28.0IP) over 32 outings. He has never been on the Disabled List over his five-year big league career.
The club will make a corresponding 40-man roster move later today.