Yankees GM Brian Cashman has indicated that under the right circumstances that he would like to bring back all of his free agents this offseason (although I somehow doubt that extends to Jorge Posada). Luis Ayala is one of those free agents, but he might need to act fast to keep the righty as the Red Sox and Rays have both “checked in” on him, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.
Ayala, soon to be 34, jumped around from the Expos to the Mets, Twins, and Marlins before landing with the Yankees last season. He had a career year posting a 2.09 ERA with a 6.3 K/9 and a 3.2 BB/9 rate. It’s hard to say if he just got lucky last season or if he has finally improved as he’s gotten older and finally gotten healthy.
Even with other teams interested in him, it is unlikely that signing him will cost too much. It won’t take a multi-year deal, although it probably would take a guaranteed offer as opposed to the minor league contract the Yankees signed him to last February.
The question then becomes, do the Yankees have enough room in their bullpen to give Ayala a guaranteed deal. Mo, D-Rob, Soriano, Wade and Logan account for five spots, Joba will be back by June at the very latest. That’s six spots right there, they may not want to go nuts trying to re-sign Ayala considering there are a few options in the minor leagues for a final spot in the pen. Cashman does like to sign a lot of relievers though and let fate sort it out.