The New York Mets famously have trouble with their bullpen. When closer Billy Wagner is out, the problem approaches crisis. This was made painfully clear on July 22, when Mets ace Johan Santana saw a quality start thrown away by the remaining Mets relievers. (Maybe that’s why Santana has pitched two complete games since.)
Billy Wagner went to rehab last week and is not doing well. So the Mets have dealt for another reliever: Luis Ayala of the Nationals. He is 1-8 this season with a 5.77 ERA, and carries a $1.7 million contract.
Ayala had asked to be traded from D.C., MLB reports, because “he lost focus because of personal problems off the field, which included having a divorce and getting shot in his left arm this past offseason.” (This last refers to a hunting accident which left fragments of a shotgun pellet in his non-pitching arm.)
The Mets traded a player to be named later (MLB expects it will be Anderson Hernandez, a utility infielder batting .138) for Ayala.
Subway Squawkers looks on the bright side: “Two years ago, the Mets acquired a pitcher in midseason who was 2-10, and Oliver Perez ended up helping the Mets in the postseason before really turning his career around the following year.”
So does Mets third baseman David Wright, who told the New York Times‘ Bats blog that Ayala is “always tough on me personally” — speaking, we assume, in retrospect and not predictively.
Others are skeptical. “Ayala,” says The ‘Ropolitans, “you have a lot to prove to me before I begin to trust you.”