The Cleveland Indians made two critical moves today. They signed Closing Pitcher John Axford to a one year worth $4.5 million and up to $1.5 million in incentives. He was 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA as a Relief Pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals last season. Axford fills the void left by former Indians’ Closer Chris Perez. The Indians get a closer with World Series experience as Axford pitched against the Boston Red Sox.
In an effort to finalize the starting rotation, the Indians signed Shaun Marcum to a minor league deal. Details of the contract have not been released yet. The 32 year old had an off year last year after surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome as he posted a 1-10 record with an ERA of 5.29. Prior to that, he was one of Baseball’s most effective ace pitchers much like Scott Kazmir. Should Marcum return to form, he could be very effective and have a bounce back year like Kazmir did last season.
The Indians still need another Starting Pitcher and should look to add relief pitchers. Adding a right handed power bat would also be a huge momentum lift.
There is still a possibility that the Indians will attempt a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire David Price. The Seattle Mariners are currently making a strong push for Price.