The Toronto Blue Jays had their hands full on Thursday night with two picks in the first round of the MLB Draft. However, a break in the action on Friday morning allowed the team to add some bullpen depth in their system, inking a minor league deal with right-hander Luis Ayala.
The news of the signing was first report by Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors.
The 36-year-old Ayala opted out his minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles last week and was thought to be headed to Mexico. However, the chance to join a winning team that has head a lot of movement in the bullpen was likely enough for Ayala to choose to sign a new minor league deal with the Blue Jays. However, as Links discusses in his article at MLBtr, the Blue Jays were smart enough to write in an opt-out into the new deal after Ayala opted-out of two previous deals with the Orioles and the Washington Nationals.
A nine-year veteran, Ayala has had an up and down career in the big leagues, spending time with 7 different Major League teams and the Blue Jays will be his 10th organization overall. Still, the results haven’t been horrible, as he owns a lifetime ERA of 3.34, an FIP of 3.96, and a 6.0 K/9 ratio. However he has been extremely hittable as well, average 9.4 hits per nine innings.
Over the last three seasons, the numbers haven’t been bad, with Ayala making 157 appearances for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and Atlanta Braves. In those 164 innings, he owns 9-8 record and a solid 2.58 ERA.
For now, he’ll be stashed in Buffalo and join the ranks of relievers making the constant trip back and forth to Toronto this summer.