Late Sunday evening, Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell reported that the Blue Jays were in agreement on a contract with veteran right-handed pitcher John Axford pending a physical.
Axford started the 2021 MLB Season as a guest commentator on Sportsnet for Blue Jays games with Campbell, however he had most recently represented Team Canada at an Olympic Qualifier tournament. SI.com reported that his fastball was registered between 95-98 mph. Although Canada failed to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo, he was one of the impressive players and allowed just one base runner and no runs over two appearances.
Axford is from Simcoe, Ontario and will bring some more Canadian content to the bullpen as he joins Jordan Romano who is from Markham, Ontario.
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The Simcoe native last pitched in the major leagues back in 2018, which was a season he started with the Blue Jays. Axford had one game as an opener and 44 games out of the bullpen that season, posting a 4.41 ERA and striking out nearly one batter per inning (8.8 strikeouts over nine innings). At the deadline that year, the Blue Jays traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Cory Copping. When he joined the Dodgers, Axford had a rough time with the Dodgers as he allowed six runs in his debut while registering just one out, and then sustained a fractured fibula just over a week later that would cost him nearly a month.
Axford signed back with the Blue Jays in 2019, but was hampered by injuries and appeared in just one minor league game for Bluefield. He has not pitched a professional game of baseball since.
The current Blue Jays bullpen is in desperate need of any help and with his recent success for Team Canada he can bring some much needed experience to the club.