12/03/2013 01:59 EST | Updated 02/01/2014 05:59 EST

Cardinals do not offer Canadian Axford contract, ex-closer becomes free agent

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Cardinals chose not to offer a 2014 contract to Canadian reliever John Axford, making the former closer a free agent.

Axford, from Simcoe, Ont., was a combined 7-7 with a 4.45 ERA for Milwaukee and St. Louis last season, but he was 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA after the Cardinals acquired him in a late-August trade. He made six appearances in the post-season and allowed a run in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out nine.

The 30-year-old Axford led the Brewers with 46 saves in 2011 but lost the closer role a year later.

Teams had until midnight to offer 2014 contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters.