The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated pitchers John Axford and Jeanmar Gomez for assignment. In a separate transaction, they acquired 28-year-old infielder Justin Sellers from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations. Charlie Morton has also been activated from the 60-day disabled list, meaning the 40-man roster remains filled.
Sellers has played parts of the last four seasons in the majors, spending 2011-13 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This year for the Indians, he hit .188 over 17 games. He also hit .188 in 77 plate appearances during the 2013 season. He has a .198/.280/.294 slash line in 252 at-bats during his big league career. Sellers can play shortstop, second base and third base, spending most of his minor league time at shortstop, where he is considered strong defensively. He has also played both corner outfield positions in the minors.
Axford made 4.5 M this season and was due for another raise through arbitration, so it’s no surprise he was designated for assignment. With the Pirates, he had a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings over 13 appearances after coming over to Pittsburgh as a waiver pickup from the Indians in mid-August.
Gomez was set to go to arbitration for the first time this off-season. He had a 3.19 ERA this year in 62 innings, but his 1.50 WHIP and low strikeout rate showed another story to his season. He pitched much better last year when he had a slightly higher ERA and saw more work out of the bullpen. The 26-year-old also saw his GO/AO ratio go from 1.83 in 2013 down to 1.40 this year.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.