Earlier this season Luis Ayala talked his way out of Minnesota by walking into manager Ron Gardenhire’s office and complaining about his role, suggesting that he should be the Twins’ eighth-inning setup man despite sporting a 4.18 ERA and .306 opponents’ batting average in 32.1 innings spent primarily in middle relief.
Here’s what Gardenhire said at the time:
When you walk into my office and tell me you don’t like your role, and he talked about his contract for next year, you lose me right there. I don’t deal with that. We’re talking about winning now. That’s why he’s out the door and another guy’s in there to pitch. And it’s not because he’s a bad guy. His theories are a little different.
After being released by the Twins he eventually signed a minor-league deal with the Marlins, who called Ayala up a couple times and let him go 0-3 with an 11.74 ERA in 10 appearances before designating him for assignment yesterday.
And naturally Ayala is now unhappy with how the Marlins treated him:
It was terrible what they did. I don’t know why they called me up if they were going to do this. I think it’s a lack of respect. I know it’s a business, but for me, it’s something they’ve handled poorly.
In fairness to Ayala, he’s more or less an expert on handling things poorly. Since the beginning of last season he’s been paid approximately $4 million to go 3-15 with a 5.68 ERA in 115.2 innings, and when not alienating his employers with his performance he’s burned bridges with his mouth. Or as Gardenhire put it: “His theories are a little different.”
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.