Detroit Tigers Need To Sign Reliever Luis Ayala
The Detroit Tigers have had issues in their bullpen over the past few seasons and adding Luis Ayala would help solve them.
Ayala would provide the Tigers with a proven veteran arm to come out of the bullpen.
After struggling to maintain success and bouncing around from team to team for the first part of his career, Ayala joined the New York Yankees in 2011. In that season, Ayala finished with a career-best 2.09 ERA, and he has continued that success to date. Ayala had a 2.64 ERA in 66 appearances in 2012 and followed that up with a 3.27 ERA while playing for between the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves.
Coming off the recent success, the Tigers should sign the right-handed reliever to strengthen the middle relief role. Joe Nathan is set to be the closer, but beyond that, there are a lot of questions.
Bruce Rondon or Joba Chamberlain are the main candidates to be the setup man. Rondon is a hard-throwing reliever, but is relatively inexperienced, having spent less than a year in the majors. Chamberlain signed a free agent deal with the Tigers this offseason and is coming off of his worse season in his career.
The other main relievers on the roster are Al Alberquerque and a pair of lefties, Phil Coke and Ian Krol. Alberquerque is trying to regain the form he showed in 2011 before an injury derailed him, while Coke and Krol are trying to replace Drew Smyly, who is moving to the starting rotation. Krol is the more likely of the two after being traded for from the Washington Nationals. He went 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA in 32 games during his first season in the majors. Coke is looking to bounce back from a bad 2013 season after being a valuable member of the bullpen in the years before.
Signing Ayala would provide a veteran that could provide stability to the bullpen. Besides Nathan, the rest of the bullpen is has either been inconsistent in recent years or is young and unproven.
The Tigers are looking to avoid the bullpen problems of years past and Ayala would be a great solution to that.