Luis Ayala drawing interest from several teams

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According to Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM, free agent reliever Luis Ayala is drawing interest from the Mets, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Angels and Red Sox. And other clubs could join the fray at this week’s annual Winter Meetings in Dallas.

Ayala posted a surprising 2.09 ERA across 56 innings of relief for the Yankees in 2011. He walked 20 batters, but he also struck out 39 and held opponents to a .256/.336/.372 batting line.

The 33-year-old native of Mexico had to accept a minor league contract last offseason due to a lack of overall interest.

With six teams already expressing a desire for a deal, he shouldn’t have that problem this time around.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.