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John Axford Reportedly Traded to Dodgers; Blue Jays Receive Corey Copping

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2018

TORONTO, ON - JULY 1: John Axford #77 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on July 1, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays traded veteran reliever John Axford to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league right-hander Corey Copping, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Tuesday.

Axford has appeared in 45 games this season and owns a 4.41 ERA and a 4.02 FIP, per Baseball Reference.

With their playoff hopes all but extinguished, the Blue Jays have significantly reshaped their bullpen over the last two days and cashed in on their best trade assets.

Toronto confirmed Monday it dealt Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros for Ken Giles, Hector Perez and David Paulino. On Tuesday, the team announced it traded Aaron Loup to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league pitcher Jacob Waguespack.

Axford is a free agent at the end of the year, so the Blue Jays had little reason to keep him past Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline.

The 24-year-old Copping has split his time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018. He's 4-0 with three saves and a 2.52 ERA in 35 relief appearances.

The Athletic's Andrew Stoeten sees potential in Copping but acknowledged the 2015 31st-round pick is far from a blue-chip prospect:

Andrew Stoeten @AndrewStoeten

Copping is 24, a RHP just moved up to AAA. A reliever, his walk numbers are high, but he managed 55 Ks in 46.1 IP at AA this year, which was a big improvement on his first turn there in '17 (60 K in 68 IP). Generally tidy ERAs, but nothing super special. https://t.co/ZLA7wA1aye

The Dodgers, meanwhile, add another experienced arm to their bullpen. Although Kenley Jansen is one of MLB's elite closers, Dodgers relievers are collectively 12th in FIP (3.93), according to FanGraphs.

Axford has rebounded nicely from a 2017 campaign in which he finished with a 6.43 ERA and 5.73 FIP. Manager Dave Roberts can lean on him in a middle-relief role as a setup man before bringing on Jansen in the ninth inning.

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