After considering some in-house options, the Indians may have found their new closer on the outside.
Free agent John Axford, who had 46 saves for Milwaukee in 2011 but has struggled the past two seasons, agreed to terms on a contract with the Indians, pending a physical. Axford is expected to undergo a medical exam early this week.
If there are no issues, Axford will close for the Indians in 2014, replacing Chris Perez, who was released on Oct. 31.
The 30-year-old Axford lost his closer’s job last year with the Brewers and was traded to St. Louis in August. He blew six save chances in 62 games last season with the Brewers before they dealt him to the Cardinals, who used him in a late-inning role.
Axford had a 1.74 ERA in 13 games for St. Louis.
• The Indians also signed free agent pitcher Shaun Marcum to a contract.
The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where the 32-year-old right-hander will get a chance to compete for a job in Cleveland’s starting 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.
CARDINALS: Signed free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis to a one-year, $5.25 million contract.
RAYS: Infielder Tim Beckham is expected to miss at least a portion of next season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The No. 1 pick in the 2008 baseball draft was injured during an off-season workout and will require surgery.
POSTING DEAL: Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball have finalized a new posting system that caps the fee for players at $20 million, a deal that may lead to star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka going on the market.
Under the rules of the three-year agreement announced Monday, a Japanese club may make players available between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1 and may set a price of up to $20 million.
Starting with the day after a player is posted and continuing for 30 days, any big league team willing to pay the fee may attempt to sign the player. A major league team pays the posting fee only if it signs the player, and the fee is then payable in installments, with the timing dependent on the amount.
A player who is not signed may not be posted again until the following Nov. 1.