Blue Jays sign pair of relievers to minor league deals


The Toronto Blue Jays inked a pair of relievers yesterday on minor league pacts including Canadian John Axford.

John Axford is a 9-year veteran with prior closer experience on his resume. The 34-year old will look to rebound from a disappointing 2017 campaign where he owned an inflated 6.43 earned run average in 22 relief appearances for the Oakland Athletics.

Axford has suited up for 6 different teams throughout his career including the Brewers, Cardinals, Indians, Pirates, Rockies, and Athletics. The native of Simcoe, Ontario sports a career 3.71 earned run average with 144 saves and a10.2 SO/9  ratio in 493 games as a reliever at the MLB level.

The big right-hander has season’s with 46, 35, 25 and 24 saves respectively and has accumulated a career 4.1 WAR rating. Axford is also a huge movie buff and notorious for his annual Oscar Award predictions that always garner national attention.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Axford signing is a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. If Axford can rectify his issues from last season, he could provide some veteran leadership in the Blue Jays pen much like what Jason Grilli did the past few seasons.

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Prior to the Axford signing yesterday the Jays also agreed to a minor league pact with former Chicago White Sox reliever Jake Petricka. The 29-year old was an effective member of the pale hose bullpen before injuries derailed his last few seasons.

Petricka made over 60 relief appearances in both 2014 and 2015 pitching at the back-end of the White Sox pen. In 2014, he had a 2.96 earned run average with 14 saves while fanning 55 in 73 innings of work.

In 5 season’s on the south-side, Petricka owns a career 3.84 earned run average with 16 saves and a 6.6 SO/9 ratio. Shi Davidi once again had the goods on this signing confirming it was a minor league agreement.

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There is no such thing as a bad minor league signing as the Jays attempt to catch lightning in a bottle with two veteran relievers who both have previous experience pitching in high leverage situations. These are two low-risk, high reward endeavors on the Jays part.