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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.