Axford struggled some last season (even losing the job for a spell) before converting 17 of his final 18 save opportunities. And let’s be real: the Brewers rely don’t have a strong alternative option at the end of games. So I think Axford has some rope to try to work things out.
For fantasy owners, the key will be to keep an eye on Axford’s velocity and to see whether if normalizes. If it doesn’t, it may require you to look elsewhere for cheap saves.
Finally, in Detroit, after going to the infamous ‘closer by committee’ for a few days, the team re-signed former closer Jose Valverde to a minor league deal.
Valverde is an interesting player. He had a great 2011 campaign (49 saves, 0 blown saves, 2.24 ERA) and a decent 2012 regular season (35 saves, 5 blown saves, 3.78 ERA), but completely fell apart in the postseason last fall. He’s been throwing during spring training despite not being signed, and will throw to some minor leaguers in Lakeland, Fla. before advancing to Triple-A.
The Tigers say they have no timetable for his return to their bullpen, nor have they made any promises to him regarding his role. But if I were a betting man, I’d guess he gets a shot in the ninth sooner rather than later.
J.P. Arencibia, who has always been something of an ‘all-or-nothing’ type player, is off to a fast start for the Blue Jays; the catcher is hitting .346 with a pair of home runs. Being surrounded by an improved lineup can only help Arencibia’s run production, and at only 46 percent owned in standard Yahoo! leagues, he may be worth consideration if you need power production or another catcher.
Scott Kazmir’s comeback story could be over before it even starts, thanks to top prospect Trevor Bauer.