Luis Ayala Rumors

Angels, Other Teams Have Made Offer To Luis Ayala

The Angels are one of a "handful of teams" that have formally tendered a contract offer to Luis Ayala, reports MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. It's unclear if it's a minor league contract offer, and the right-handed reliever is still weighing his options and no decision is imminent.

Ayala, 34, was an excellent value signing for the Yankees in 2011 after inking a minor league contract in February. He did not appear in the Majors in 2010, but posted a 2.09 ERA in 56 innings last season. Late last week we heard that the Paragon Sports International client was choosing between the Angels and Orioles, though the Yankees, Rays, Mets, Red Sox, and Blue Jays had interest in him earlier this offseason.


Luis Ayala Choosing Between Angels, Orioles

Reliever Luis Ayala is weighing offers from the Angels and the Orioles and could sign with one of the two "at any moment," according to Fernando Ballesteros at the Mexican baseball magazine Puro BĂ©isbol (via Twitter, in Spanish). The Padres, he writes, were also involved but have left negotiations with the 34-year-old. According to Ballesteros, Ayala is seeking a two-year deal.

Ayala earned the privilege of being choosy this winter after a resurgent 2011 with the Yankees. He signed a minor league deal with the team in January after a lost 2010 season, but ended up finishing 20 games and pitching to a 2.09 ERA in 56 innings. His rate of 6.3 K/9 tied previous season highs, and he generated ground balls 50 percent of the time. Last week we learned that the Yankees still had interest in bringing him back, but Ballesteros writes that the team isn't among those currently interested in Ayala.


Quick Hits: La Russa, Cordero, Ayala, Oliver, Vizquel

Some links as Monday turns into Tuesday…

  • Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says (on Twitter) Tony La Russa is seriously weighing his career options and hopes to have an answer soon, perhaps before Spring Training. It's been speculated that La Russa could join a team in a front office role after retiring from managing.
  • The Angels have talked to Francisco Cordero's representatives recently according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. He says it's hard to gauge where the team is in the race for the right-hander given all the money they've already spent this offseason, among other things.
  • The Yankees maintain interest in re-signing reliever Luis Ayala according to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith (on Twitter). Ayala posted a 2.09 ERA with a 50% ground ball rate in 56 IP for New York last season. Last month we learned that six teams were pursuing the righty.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that the Rangers didn't offer Darren Oliver anything close to the $4.5MM he got from the Blue Jays. He says they remain in the market for left-handed bullpen help, and Mike Gonzalez still fits.
  • Omar Vizquel hinted at retirement on his Twitter account today, saying "[if] there is no contract [offer] there will be no other option but to start a new career, [as a] coach," according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (link in Spanish).
  • Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that Casey Blake will have to come to the plate 550 times this season to max out the $1MM in incentives in his contract with the Rockies. He'll earn the first $350K in bonuses at 350 plate appearances.
  • Within the same piece, Renck says that Aaron Cook's minor league deal with the Red Sox will pay him $20K per month in the minors. He can make an additional $2MM by making 30 starts in the big leagues, and the escalators kick in at 15 starts. Cook can request his release if he's not on the 25-man roster on May 1st and again on June 1st.


Angels Still Exploring Relief Options

The LaTroy Hawkins signing got understandably overshadowed during the winter meetings, but the Angels are still exploring bullpen options according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Gonzalez says they've been in touch with Darren Oliver's representatives and had scouts watch Joel Zumaya's recent showcase.

The Halos have Jordan Walden, Scott Downs, Hisanori Takahashi, and Hawkins slated for the bullpen at the moment, plus they have Kevin Jepsen, Rich Thompson, Bobby Cassevah, and Jerome Williams on their 40-man roster as well. Gonzalez says the Angels can't afford Francisco Cordero, and he adds that GM Jerry Dipoto has not reached out to free agents Luis Ayala and Dan Wheeler either.


Tigers Rumors: Cespedes, Stewart, Ayala

Some late night Tigers links…

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that general manager Dave Dombrowski's trip to see Yoenis Cespedes in the Dominican Republic is a strong sign of Detroit's interest in the Cuban defender. A team official told Morosi he couldn't remember Dombrowski ever taking a similar step before.
  • Morosi adds that the Tigers checked in with the Rockies on Ian Stewart, but cautions that there have been no serious talks yet.
  • Luis Ayala is a bullpen target as a candidate to fill a seventh inning role, tweets MLB.com's Jason Beck.
  • We heard earlier tonight that Detroit may stay in-house to fill its fifth starter vacancy.

Six Teams Pursuing Luis Ayala

There are six teams in on free agent reliever Luis Ayala, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN XM radio, including the Mets, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Angels and Red Sox.

Ayala was an excellent value signing for the Yankees in 2011 after inking a minor league contract in February. The right-hander, who did not appear in the Majors in 2010, posted a 2.09 ERA in 56 innings last season and could land a Major League contract this trip through free agency.

Of the clubs listed here, the Mets, Jays and Rays, in particular, have several openings in their respective bullpens, while Ayala could simply provide depth for a team like the Yankees or Red Sox.


Red Sox, Rays Have Checked In On Luis Ayala

The Yankees got solid work out of several players they signed to minor league contracts last season, including reliever Luis Ayala. Now, a pair of their division rivals have interest in the right-hander. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter) that the Red Sox and Rays have checked in on Ayala this offseason.

Ayala, 34 in January, posted a 2.09 ERA in 56 innings for the Yankees last year, getting a ground ball 50% of the time. He struck out 6.27 batters for every nine innings pitched and walked 3.21 per nine. Ayala did not appear in the big leagues at all in 2010, and in 2009 he pitched to an ugly 5.63 ERA in 40 innings for the Twins and Marlins. His performance in New York figures to land him a guaranteed Major League contract this winter.


Yankees To Sign Luis Ayala

The Yankees agreed to sign reliever Luis Ayala to a minor league deal, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The right-hander a career ERA of 3.67 with 5.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in parts of six major league seasons.

Ayala last appeared in the majors in 2009, but he has been pitching recently. The 33-year-old closed for Mexico in the Caribbean Series, according to Morosi. Another Mexican right-hander, former Yankee Alfredo Aceves, signed with the Red Sox yesterday.

Ayala will presumably compete for a spot at the back of the Yankees' bullpen with the likes of Buddy Carlyle, Neal Cotts and Mark Prior. There doesn't appear to be much room for competition in the Yankees' restocked 'pen, but spots could open up because of injuries or ineffectiveness.


Rockies Sign Luis Ayala

The Rockies signed reliever Luis Ayala and assigned him to Triple A, according to the transactions page for the Pacific Coast League. The right-hander has not pitched in the majors this year, though he did pitch 1.2 scoreless innings for Colorado Springs over the weekend.

Ayala, 32, last appeared in the majors last year when he posted a 5.63 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 for the Twins and Marlins. He posted similar numbers at Triple A in the Dodgers and D'Backs organizations this summer, before signing in Colorado. The Rockies continue to look for relievers, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com.


D’Backs Sign Luis Ayala

The D'Backs signed Luis Ayala to a minor league deal, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). D'Backs relievers have combined for a 7.90 ERA this year, so GM Josh Byrnes added a low-risk arm to his 'pen. The club added Saul Rivera earlier in the week, only to see him surrender five runs in his first appearance.

Ayala signed with the Dodgers this winter and appeared in 14 Triple A games this year, where he posted a 4.50 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes (via Twitter), the 32-year-old right-hander was recently released. 

Ayala posted a 5.68 ERA with four major league clubs over the course of the last two seasons. Last year, he mixed a low 90s fastball with sliders and the occasional change to strike out about twice as many batters as he walked. Ayala has had much more success against right-handed batters over the course of his career.