According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, veteran pitcher John Axford is hopeful of a return back to the Toronto Blue Jays for the 2019 campaign.
John Axford advised Nicholson-Smith that he plans to speak to the Blue Jays front office about a possible return. The 35-year old Canadian was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodger at the trade deadline last season in exchange for minor league pitcher Corey Copping.
Axford is strong physically and feels he can draw from his past experiences in the game to help mentor the younger pitchers who are cutting their teeth at the MLB level. The pitcher made it abundantly clear to Nicholson-Smith that Toronto is the place he wants to be and he will keep coming back.
The veteran hurler had a respectable season in Toronto sporting a 4.41 earned run average in 45 appearances last season. Axford was relied upon heavily last season making all those relief appearances with the Jays before the July 31st trade.
The right-hander made only five appearances with the Dodgers before fracturing the tip of his right fibula. The hurler never appeared in any postseason games for Los Angeles.
Axford proved he still has some gas left in the tank and could be a low-risk signing/ high upside signing once again. The right-hander owns a career 3.87 earned run average with 144 saves in 543 MLB games.
The Blue Jays front office appear content slow playing the reliever market much like they did last offseason although they did just ink David Phelps to a multi-year pact. Axford earned $1.5 million in 2018 and in all likelihood would be somewhere in that range again this season.
The Simcoe, Ontario native didn’t pull any punches when discussing his intentions for the 2019 season. He wants to pitch north of the border and is going to seek out Ross Atkins to make it happen. Now we will have to wait and see if the feeling is mutual for Atkins and company.