Veteran right-handed reliever Luis Ayala was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Braves on Tuesday due to anxiety disorder, the team announced.
The news comes straight out of left field, given that Ayala has spent nine years in the big leagues without any public hint of previous problems. However, he is on a new team in Atlanta after the Orioles traded him earlier this month. The Braves became his seventh franchise when they picked him up for Chris Jones on April 10. He’s allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings since joining the team.
Ayala arrived in the majors in 2003 and immediately became a quality setup man for the Expos, picking up 10 wins, five saves and 19 holds as a rookie. He blew out his elbow in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, but returned and had a decent 2007 season for the Nationals. Things went downhill in 2008 and it looked like his career was just about over when he gave up 10 runs in 7 2/3 innings for the Marlins in 2009, but after spending the entirety of 2010 in the minors, he put together impressive showings in the majors for the Yankees in 2011 (2.09 ERA in 56 IP) and the Orioles last year (2.664 ERA in 75 IP).
David Carpenter was called up to replace Ayala in Atlanta’s bullpen.
Update: Braves GM Frank Wren shed a little light on the situation early this evening:
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.
While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.
Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.
As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.