July 24, 2014

Elyria
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Indians make it official, sign ex-Brewers closer John Axford; free agent starter Shaun Marcum signs minor league deal

John Axford

John Axford

CLEVELAND — It’s official: The deal for a new Indians closer is all but closed.

Free agent John Axford, who had 46 saves for Milwaukee in 2011 but has struggled the past two seasons, agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Indians, pending a physical.

Axford is expected to undergo a medical exam Wednesday.

Also, the Indians signed free agent starter Shaun Marcum to a minor league deal and will give him a chance to win a starting job in spring training.

As long as there are no issues, Axford will likely close for the Indians in 2014, replacing Chris Perez, who was released on Oct. 31. Axford can earn an additional $1.75 million if he reaches performance bonuses.

The 30-year-old Axford blew six save chances in 62 games last season with the Brewers before they dealt him to the Cardinals.

Marcum’s deal includes an invitation to spring training, where the 32-year-old right-hander will be in the mix to join Cleveland’s rotation. Marcum would receive a $1 million salary if he’s added to the 40-man roster, and he can earn another $3 million in bonuses.

Marcum, who has a 58-46 career record in the majors, was limited to 14 games for the New York Mets before he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. He went 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA before having the operation.