Nationals agree to sign Luis Ayala to minor league contract

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The 36-year old will likely have a good shot at making the team's major league bullpen out of spring training.

The Washington Nationals have agreed to a minor league contract with reliever Luis Ayala, according to a baseball source with direct knowledge of the negotiations. The agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com following a report from CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman that a deal between the two sides was close.

According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, Ayala will earn $1 million if he makes the club out of spring training.

Ayala, 36, will compete for a spot in the Nationals' bullpen during spring training, and will likely earn it after posting a 3.27 ERA in 39 appearances split between the Orioles and Braves last season. Ayala drew interest from many teams this offseason, including the Mariners, Tigers, Indians, Rays and Red Sox.

The Nationals already have right-handers Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen and Rafael Soriano slotted into bullpen roles, but Ayala could join that group with a strong spring training performance. He broke into the majors with the Expos/Nationals organization, posting a 27-32 record and 3.33 ERA in 320 relief appearances over five seasons with the club.

In nine major league seasons, Ayala is the holder of a lifetime 38-47 record and 3.34 ERA in 534 appearances with the Expos/Nationals (2003-2005, 2007-2008), Mets (2008), Twins (2009), Marlins (2009), Yankees (2011), Orioles (2012-2013) and Braves (2013).

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