By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO - Only days shy of the first official pitchers and catchers workout in Dunedin, the Toronto Blue Jays and free agent right-hander John Axford have come to terms on a minor league deal that includes an invite to big-league camp.
MLB on FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal.
Axford, 34, has appeared in parts of nine MLB seasons and joins the Blue Jays having recorded a career ERA of 3.74 with 144 saves across 493 big league assignments dating back to his rookie campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009.
With a four-seam fastball that touched 98 mph at times during the 2017 season, the 6-foot-5 native of Port Dover, Ont., also utilizes both a curveball and cutter while predominantly working off of a sinker. The latter has helped him convert an overall ground ball rate of 50.1% while limiting opposing batters to a 0.84 HR/9% over his well-traveled career in the Show.
In the last half of his two-year, $10M contract with the Oakland Athletics, the Canisius graduate appeared in 22 games and recorded a WHIP of 2.095 while walking 17 batters and allowing 15 earned runs over 21 innings pitched prior to being released on August 1.
Looking to bounce back from his recent West Coast woes, the Blue Jays will become Axford's seventh MLB organization joining Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Oakland, respectively.
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