Luis Ayala Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Links for Sunday, as we wait to see if the Dodgers can extend their six-game winning streak....
- Ken Rosenthal writes that the Nationals promoted the 10th overall pick from the 2009 draft, Drew Storen, today. Storen had annihilated minor league hitters across two levels this season.
- Ozzie Guillen understands the reasoning behind GM Kenny Williams' recent public confirmation that he's losing patience with his ballclub, writes Ken Falkoff on MLB.com.
- Two players signed to one-year deals, Justin Duchscherer and Nick Johnson, could require surgeries that would sideline them for most or all of this season. MLB.com's Jane Lee and Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork have the details.
- Bill Ladson of MLB.com tweets that Willy Taveras may not accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers. Taveras was DFA'd by the Nationals last night.
- Luis Ayala has exercised the opt-out clause in his contract, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The Dodgers will have to add Ayala to their 25-man roster by Monday afternoon or release him.
- Earlier in the week, MLB.com's Chris Haft floated the idea of the Giants moving Aubrey Huff to left field to make room at first base for Buster Posey. According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Huff is open to the idea and thinks Posey would do well at first base.
- Speaking of Posey, John Sickels asks who you'd rather have: the Giants' prospect or Carlos Santana of the Indians.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes details the Indians' changing draft strategy, and fields readers' Tribe-related questions in a mailbag.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lists the top ten best investments made by the Pirates' current regime.
Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports (via Twitter) that the Dodgers have signed Luis Ayala to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Hernandez added that should Ayala make L.A.'s major league roster, the reliever will earn $750K, and can earn another $100K based on appearances.
We learned last week that the Dodgers and Rockies were both looking to sign the free agent right-hander to a minor league deal. Ayala posted a 5.62 ERA in 38 appearances with the Twins and Marlins in 2009, and has a career ERA of 3.64 and a career K:BB ratio of 2.77 over six seasons in the bigs.
TUESDAY: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that we should expect Ayala to ink a minor league deal with the Dodgers or Rockies.
THURSDAY: Dylan Hernandez of The LA Times tweets that the Dodgers are in discussions with free agent reliever Luis Ayala about a minor league contract.
Ayala, 32 in January, posted a 5.62 ERA in 40 innings in 2009, mostly for the Twins but some for the Marlins. Over the last two seasons, he's posted a 5.68 ERA in 115.2 innings.