Two out of the three other players have already found new homes, with Rosario still stuck in DFA limbo. The Rockies made these moves to make room for several top prospects on the 40 man roster, including, position players Trevor Story and Raimel Tapia as well as pitchers Carlos Estevez and Antonio Senzatela. This takes us back to John Axford.
With the trades of Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit already this offseason, the Padres currently have a bit of a void in the back of their bullpen. This void could arguably be filled, and filled slightly cheaper, with John Axford.
John Axford is coming off a strong season, perhaps his best in several years. Axford saved 25 games for the Rockies, finishing the season with a 4.20 ERA and a 3.57 FIP.
While the ERA number aren’t too inspiring, the better FIP number bodes better for Axford’s future. Axford is currently 32 years old and made $2.6 million in salary in 2015. Given his eligibility for an arbitration raise this offseason, Axford is projected to make over $6 million in arbitration for next season. While this seems expensive at first glance, Axford is still cheaper than either Benoit or Kimbrel would have been.
More importantly for the Padres, playing in Petco Park may make Axford an even better pitcher for next season which only increases his value, making that salary more fair.
The Padres currently have a void in the back of the bullpen, with only Brandon Maurer as a capable closer, and they could do for some upgrades there. Axford is a strong veteran presence and a pitcher who has plenty of upside for the Padres next season. It can’t hurt for A.J. Preller to test the waters and see if he can swing a deal for Axford.