Numerous teams were believed to have interest in veteran reliever Luis Ayala this past offseason before the right-handed opted to sign a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. Following a rough spring, however, it had become evident that the 36 year old would not be making the team’s roster our of Spring Training and he’s been granted his unconditional release by the team. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes that he’ll return home to Arizona with the hope of catching on with another organization before long.
Ayala spent most of the 2013 season with the Atlanta Braves, having been traded there by the Baltimore Orioles just a week into April for minor league left-hander Chris Jones. Ayala missed some time during the season to deal with some anxiety issues, but pitched relatively well for the Braves when he was able to remain a part of the team. He’d make 37 appearances for the team, boasting a 2.90 ERA and 1.516 WHIP across 31.0 IP. He’s never been an overpowering arm out of the bullpen, but his ability to keep the ball in the park (a career best 0.3 HR/9) has certainly helped.
A nine year veteran, Ayala’s signing with the Nationals in early February was something of a homecoming in some regards. He’d made his MLB Debut in 2003 with the Montreal Expos and was part of the Nationals’ inaugural roster in 2005 when the team first began play in Washington. Since he’s pitched for the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, Orioles, and Braves.