Washington Post writer James Wagner just wrote this morning that he confirmed what CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman had reported within the last half hour, the Washington Nationals and veteran right-handed reliever Luis Ayala are reportedly close to a deal that would bring the one-time Expo and National back to the nation's capital:
Luis Ayala is a close to a deal with the #nats— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 7, 2014
Can confirm that Luis Ayala & Nats are close to a deal. Ayala an '05 Nat. Jamey Carroll & Ryan Zimmerman two others. @JonHeymanCBS had first— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) February 7, 2014
Ayala, 36, pitched for the Montreal Expos in 2003-2004 and for the Nationals from 2005-2008 before he was dealt to the New York Mets. In 2013, the veteran of nine MLB seasons pitched for the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves, putting up a combined 3.27 ERA and a 3.68 FIP with 13 walks (3.55 BB/9) and 22 Ks (6.00 K/9) in 39 games and 33 IP. In his last full season in 2012, Ayala posted a 2.64 ERA with a 3.67 FIP, 14 walks and 51 Ks in 75 IP over which he was worth +0.9 fWAR.
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters in a late-January interview that the Nationals were in on veteran reliever Grant Balfour before he signed with Tampa Bay. At the time he said the Nats remained open to the possibility of adding any value they could find. "We're always open to add to the roster if it benefits us," Rizzo said. "So I wouldn't say that we're actively looking to add anybody, but we're certainly not going to turn our backs if opportunity knocks and we can get a value. We'll certainly look into it."
The deal with Ayala is reportedly a minor league deal:
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