BOSTON – The Orioles traded reliever Luis Ayala to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in exchange for minor league left-hander Chris Jones.
The 35-year-old Ayala, who was 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 66 games with the Orioles last season, was 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in two games this year. He complained of dizziness during Sunday’s game and was taken to the hospital, but caught a later flight to Boston.
“The trade frees up a spot on our major league roster for T.J. McFarland,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. “We like McFarland.”
Because McFarland, a Rule 5 draft choice had performed so well this spring, the Orioles badly wanted to keep him and knew that if they tried to pass him through waivers another team would keep him.
For the past three games, the team had been playing with a three-man bench and 13 pitchers, but with minor league outfielder Chris Dickerson’s contract set to be purchased today, the Orioles will go back to 12 pitchers and four bench players.
Duquette said that he likes Jones, a 24-year-old who will be assigned to Bowie. Jones is 24-20 with a 3.58 ERA in seven minor league seasons with the Cleveland and Atlanta organizations.
“Chris Jones has good stuff. He made a good move toward the major leagues last season. He saved a couple of big games late in the year. He’s on track to be a contributing left-hander in the major leagues,” Duquette said.
Ayala was a key member of last season’s bullpen and the Orioles picked up the 2013 option on his contract shortly after the season ended.
“We like Luis Ayala. Luis Ayala did a nice job for us,” Duquette said. “We wish him well with the Atlanta Braves. He’s a good veteran.”