General Manager Dan Duquette is always watching the waiver wire, just as a good baseball executive should. So when Washington released former Oriole Luis Ayala and his representative immediately contacted the Baltimore Orioles, Duquette pounced. The O’s are prepared to announce today that they’ve signed Ayala to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Ayala of course played for the Orioles in 2012, on the team that went to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. He was 1-0 out of the pen, but he was also a right-handed specialist that really came through for the Birds in the clutch when they needed clean innings in games.
Ayala was traded to Atlanta (from the Orioles) early last season. During his first stint here, he posted a 3.27 ERA with six strikeouts per nine innings, and 3.5 walks per nine innings. Ayala’s contract is expected to be a “split deal” in the sense that there will be certain incentives built in if he’s pitching at the big league level. There might also be an opt out clause if he’s not in the majors by a certain date. The O’s are viewing this as a depth move, and Ayala could also be stashed at Norfolk for some time if the organization wants to keep him pitching more often in case he’s needed once the season starts. The Orioles traded Ayala to Atlanta early last year in exchange for pitching prospect Chris Jones, who’s still with the Orioles organization.