The Oakland Athletics are "close to signing free-agent reliever John Axford," reports the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. Earlier Tuesday evening, Slusser reported that Oakland was"moving in on free-agent reliever John Axford as the fourth addition of the winter to the bullpen."
The right-handed Axford, turning 33 next season, elected free agency after he was designated for assignment in the offseason after earning a major league salary of $2.6 million after he made the Rockies major league roster for 2015. The MLB Trade Rumors model projected he would earn $6.5 million in his final arbitration year on the strength of the 25 saves he collected for Colorado in 2015 and his previous career history as a closer.
Axford made 60 appearances for the Rockies with a 4.20 ERA, which represents a 111 ERA+ given the park effects at Coors Field. He struck out 62 and walked 32 and owns a career ERA+ of 116 over parts of seven seasons between the Brewers, Cardinals, Indians, Pirates, and Rockies.