As the free agent pool of pitchers continues to dwindle down this offseason, the Los Angeles Angels should look no further than right-handed reliever Luis Ayala.
The 36-year-old has been an effective pitcher on the mound over the past three seasons in the majors as he had no higher than a 3.27 ERA. Ayala had his best season in 2011 with the New York Yankees as he had a 2-2 record with a career-best 2.09 ERA, 39 strikeouts, 1.27 WHIP and four holds in 56.0 innings pitched.
As for last season, Ayala continued to perform well after being traded to the Atlanta Braves.The right-hander appeared in 37 games and posted a 2.90 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 10 holds in 31.0 innings pitched.
What Ayala has shown over the last three years is that he can be a reliable arm out of the bullpen, and that is something that the Angels lacked last season outside of Dane De La Rosa. The addition of the veteran reliever would bolster the Halos’ pitching staff by providing the team with a pitcher that can be either an effective setup man or middle reliever.
What also makes it worth adding the 36-year-old is that Los Angeles could sign him to an inexpensive short-term contract. Ayala is one of the few remaining bullpen arms out in the free agent market worth giving a look. So with a need to upgrade their pitching staff heading into the 2014 season, the signing of the right-hander would help fortify their inconsistent bullpen that ranked in the bottom of the league in several important pitching categories in 2013.