The Star-Tribune is reporting that the Pirates are interested in trading for Twins RHP Luis Ayala, who was designated for assignment this week. Ayala, 31, joined Minnesota on a 1-year, $1.3 million deal in the offseason, with the intention of being the eighth-inning setup guy for closer Joe Nathan. In 32.3 innings this year, he had a 4.18 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 21 K and 8 BB, but complained about being used as a middle reliever and reportedly requested a trade.
It makes sense for Huntington to inquire, given the health issues of Yates and Hansen and the sporadic ineffectiveness of some other relievers. Ayala had some very good seasons from 2003-2005 and was decent in 2007 after returning from 2006 Tommy John surgery, but he struggled last year with a 5.74 ERA and 1.46 WHIP with the Nationals and Mets.