MLB roundup: Nationals sign Luis Ayala, White Sox add Boggs

Doug Pensinger

Marginal relievers!

Nationals sign Luis Ayala

The Washington Nationals have come to terms with reliever Luis Ayala on a minor league deal, accordion to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Ayala, who turned 36 last month, continued his late-career resurgence with the Braves last season after beginning the year in Baltimore. Since resurfacing with the Yankees in 2011, the right hander has pitched to a 2.58 ERA over 164 innings with the Yanks, Orioles, and Braves.

Ayala could fit into the Washington bullpen as a potential bridge between the team's long relief options and their late-innnings trio of Rafael Soriano, Tyler Clippard, and Drew Storen, but he'll have to make a strong impression in spring training to ensure a spot on the 25-man roster.

White Sox sign Mitchell Boggs to big league deal

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a major league contract with former Cardinals and Rockies reliever Mitchell Boggs, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. The deal will be worth $1.1 million if Boggs breaks camp with the team this spring, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman. The Sox have an opening in the ninth inning after trading Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks, but Boggs isn't likely to be a candidate for the vacant closer role. Boggs, who will turn 30 later this month, was briefly considered as a closer candidate for the Cardinals while posting a 3.08 ERA in over 200 innings there from 2010 to 2012. However, he responded to the high-pressure role with some rather notable misadventure.

Pat Neshek will earn $1 million if he breaks camp with St. Louis

Side-arm reliever Pat Neshek will earn an even million-dollar salary from the Cardinals if he's able to make the team, as CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. The 33-year-old right hander spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Athletics, pitching 60 innings with a 2.70 ERA. He's been pretty inconsistent throughout his career, but when he's on he can be extremely effective. Despite considerable struggles from 2008 to 2011, his career ERA is still just 3.07.

However, the Cardinals bullpen could be a tough crowd to break into. St. Louis has eight players competing for five rotation spots, and they have a few newly-established relievers as well. Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, and Tyler Lyons could all end up in the bullpen to start the year, joining closer Trevor Rosenthal, Jason Motte, Kevin Seigrist, and others.

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