Orioles sign reliever Luis Ayala

The Orioles continue to add to their crowded 40-man roster.

The club has signed reliever Luis Ayala, a 34-year-old right-hander who had a resurgent 2011 when he was 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 52 games with the New York Yankees, to a one-year, major league contract. The deal is worth a guaranteed $925,000. There is a team option for 2013 for $1 million with a $100,000 buyout.


Ayala will earn $825,000 in 2012, and there are performance bonuses, mainly based on appearances, worth up to $350,000 for both 2012 and 2013.

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Ayala and the addition of Matt Lindstrom earlier this week give the Orioles two solid power arms in the bullpen.


"I think it gives us a little more depth in the bullpen," Duquette said. "We'll see how it develops in the spring. I like having the veterans in the bullpen to compliment the young pitchers. I think that will make us a little stronger staff as a whole this year."

A veteran of seven major league seasons and five teams, Ayala spent all of 2010 in the minors. But he made the Yankees in 2011 and posted his first sub-3.00 ERA since 2005, when he was a member of the inaugural Washington Nationals.

The Mexico native is 31-41 with a 3.47 ERA and 18 saves in 446 1/3 major league innings. He likely will battle for a short-inning relief role in the back end of the Orioles' bullpen.

To make room for Ayala on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated outfielder Matt Angle for assignment. Angle, 26, played in 31 games for the Orioles in 2011, hitting .177 and stealing 11 bases in 12 attempts.

Ayala was ultimately deciding between the Orioles and Los Angeles Angels.

A report out of Mexico last month listed the Orioles as one of two finalists for Ayala. first reported the pending deal today.

In other news, the Orioles made official their signing of infielder Nick Johnson to a minor league deal with a spring training invitation and confirmed that minor leaguers Xavier Avery, L.J. Hoes and Dane Sardinha have also been invited to big league camp.

Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this report.