It appears that former St. Louis Cardinals reliever John Axford will have no problem finding a new job.
According to CBS Sports, he has been contacted by several teams, some of which seem interested in giving Axford a shot at re-establishing himself as closer. At the top of the list of suitors are the Baltimore Orioles who recently traded their expensive closer away in a cost-cutting move, the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Mariners.
The Cardinals faced paying Axford about $6 million in 2014 in they offered arbitration. It's a steep price, to be sure. But, considering all the money the team saved on expiring contracts, it might have been a worthwhile insurance policy to keep him.
Trevor Rosenthal seems to have nailed down the closers job in St. Louis. But reliever Jason Motte, who had Tommy John surgery at the end of 2013 spring training, isn't a sure bet to be productive. It took Brian Wilson, formerly of the Giants, about 16 months to return to the mound in an MLB game after he had the same surgery. If Motte, a similar power pitcher, returns on the same schedule, that means Cardinals fans will be lucky if he's ready by the end of July.
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The Cardinals claim that Carlos Martinez will get a shot to earn a job in the starting rotation. If that happens, then the Birds have no obvious set-up man and Axford would have been perfect for that role.
Axford could have also been a stabilizing force in a bullpen that is filled with young hurlers. Sure, they did a nice job for the bulk of last season. But MLB history is filled with one hit wonders and injury disappointments.
There's a reason why baseball sorts say "you can never have too much pitching."