John Axford is expected to step into the role of Indians' closer. (Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images)
The Cleveland Indians are close to signing reliever John Axford to a one-year contract, according to multiple reports.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney first reported that the two sides were nearing an agreement. Axford, 30, is expected to step into the role of closer for the Indians, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
Axford pitched in 54 2/3 innings in the role last season with the Milwaukee Brewers. But he was replaced as closer after racking up six blown saves, and he was subsequently traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 65 total innings last season with the Cardinals and Brewers, Axford went 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. He struck out 65 and walked 26.
Axford pitched well for the Cardinals in six postseason outings, giving up just one run (a home run) in 5 2/3 innings.