Mets Should Bring a Rockie Home with Them
I promise you this is not another trading for Jose Reyes post, even if I still think the Mets need a SS. Instead, this post is about John Axford. I wish I could take credit for this idea, but this one comes from Dan O’Dowd. It’s a good idea.
First and foremost, the Mets bullpen needs help, and the Mets aren’t utilizing their internal candidates. This leaves external candidates. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I know the Mets would have to make a move with the 40 man roster, but there is enough fat to cut away there.
More importantly, the question is of all the players that clear waivers, why Axford? I would argue he pitches better in a pennant race for good teams.
In 2013, he started the year with the sub .500 Brewers. He wasn’t good. His FIP was 4.77. His K/9 was a good 8.9. On August 30, 2013, Axford was traded to the Cardinals, and he got much better, like everyone who’s traded to the Cardinals. His FIP improved to 2.08. His good 8.9 K/9 improved to 10.4.
In 2014, the Cardinals didn’t bring him back. With the Indians, Axford had an FIP of 4.71, but he did have a 10.5 K/9. On August 14, 2014, Axford was traded to the Pirates. Again, he pitched better. His FIP improved to 2.86 even if his K/9 dipped to 9.8.
It should be mentioned neither the Cardinals or Pirates needed bullpen help. Despite this, they bit traded for Axford. Axford then became a big piece of each of those bullpens. This time the Mets need a bullpen piece. Axford has shown the ability to raise his game, but how is he pitching now?
Now, there is the caveat that he pitches for the Rockies. However, that is why I picked FIP because that takes Axford pitching in Colorado into account. With that said, his FIP is 4.09 with a 9.3 K/9. There is concern about his steady K/9 drop. However, his fastball velocity has remained steady around 95.5 MPH. Therefore, part of the decreased K/9 could be attributable to the Coors Field effect on breaking pitches. Basically, like the prior two years, Axford appears fixable again.
Axford is a strong arm who has shown he’s dependable in a pennant race. Better yet, he’s good in the postseason as well. He’s 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA and a 12.8 K/9. If the goal is to make the postseason and succeed, Axford is your man.