Luis Ayala opted out of his minor-league deal with the Orioles last week and was reportedly headed to pitch in the Mexican League, but now Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors says the 35-year-old reliever will instead sign a new minor-league contract with the Blue Jays.
Ayala posted a nice-looking 2.58 ERA in 164 innings from 2011-2013, but a poor strikeout rate and mediocre raw stuff kept teams from trusting him. He’s bounced around a lot and has recently been passed over for call-ups back to the majors, but as far as organizational depth goes he’s a nice pickup for Toronto.
He’ll head to Triple-A for now, perhaps with another opt-out clause looming.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.