Axford non-tendered by Cardinals

Jenifer Langosch/

Unwilling to pay the salary John Axford would have commanded in the arbitration process, the Cardinals non-tendered the right-handed reliever on Monday. As a result, Axford becomes a free agent a little more than three months after the Cardinals acquired him in an trade with Milwaukee.

While Axford now searches for a new contract, Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso and Peter Bourjos – the Cardinals’ other arbitration-eligible players – are assured ones. Each was tendered a contract prior to Monday’s 10:59 p.m. CT deadline. All three were arbitration eligible for the first time after reaching three years of Major League service time this past season.

Now, the club’s attention now moves to reaching a minimum one-year agreement with Jay, Descalso and Bourjos. If a player has not agreed to terms on a 2014 contract by Jan. 17, the two sides will exchange desired salary figures. If a resolution can still not be reached, an arbitration hearing will be held in February during which one of those two salaries is chosen in a binding decision.

The Cardinals have not closed the door on re-signing Axford, but they would only do so if he is willing to take a sharp salary cut. Axford earned $5 million in 2013 (his first year of arbitration eligibility) because he was able to point to his success as a closer. If he were to return to St. Louis, he would likely slide into a setup role.

Axford, who came to St. Louis in a trade that sent Michael Blazek to Milwaukee, posted a 1.74 ERA in his 13 regular-season appearances with the Cardinals as he helped solidify their bullpen. He then pitched 5 2/3 postseason innings and allowed one run on two hits.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

1 Comment

I should surprise my daughter with tickets! Now that she has picked that as her dream job, that is….thanks for being her resource!

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