Axelrod, now 38, pitched in the majors for the White Sox and Reds from 2011 to 2015. For the last four years, he was working for the Angels as pitching coordinator. Last month, Sam Blum of The Athletic reported that Troy Percival had been invited to visit the club’s minor league instructional camp and expressed displeasure with how much the pitchers were using iPads. Blum adds that Percival’s opinions “played at least a factor” in Axelrod and Buddy Carlyle getting fired. Last month, Eno Sarris of The Athletic reported that Carlyle had landed a new gig with the Rays. Within the piece from Blum, pitchers like Reid Detmers and Chase Silseth spoke positively about working with Axelrod.
With the Tigers, Axelrod will be working with a pitching staff that has some uncertainty on it. Former first-rounders Casey Mize and Matt Manning are still looking to reach their potential after some injuries and middling results. Younger pitchers like Reese Olson, Sawyer Gipson-Long and Wilmer Flores will be looking to take steps forward. Jack Flaherty will be looking for a bounceback season after signing a one-year deal.