Last night Tom Haudricourt reported the Brewers were working on a deal to trade a reliever, and it turns out he was right: This morning they announced they've dealt John Axford to the Cardinals for a player to be named later.
Axford will likely always be best remembered for his lights-out stretch as a closer during the Brewers' NL Central championship run in 2011, where he set a franchise record with 46 saves. He's struggled to live up to that expectation since then, though, posting a 4.57 ERA over 137 appearances since the start of the 2012 season. He's recorded 35 saves over the last two years but has been removed from the closer role for at least part of each of those seasons.
Axford (106) and Dan Plesac (133) are the only Brewers in franchise history to record over 100 saves. He's eighth on the Brewer all-time list with 268 games pitched, and sixth with 268 relief appearances. Among pitchers who threw at least 250 innings, Axford is the only Brewer ever to record more than ten strikeouts per nine innings (10.87).
Andrew Gruman is reporting that Alfredo Figaro will rejoin the team to fill Axford's roster spot.
As for the return for Axford, all we know at this point is that we don't know much right now. Adam McCalvy talked to Doug Melvin and wasn't able to get any kind of confirmation about the type of player coming back, but Melvin did say he expects to name the player next week.