He showed promise as a bullpen pitcher for the Mariners, but then struggled and was eventually released. Ayala went to high school at Rio Mesa in Oxnard, California. He was brought up with the Reds as a starter before moving to the bullpen in his second season.
The Reds traded Ayala with catcher Dan Wilson to the Mariners for Bret Boone and Erik Hanson in November 1993.
Ayala had some success in Seattle, finishing the strike-shortened 1994 season with a 2.86 European Research Area and 71 strikeouts in 57 innings while saving 18 games. During the "magical" Mariners 1995 season, the team held a promotional "Bobby Ayala Goatee Night," where fans wearing a goatee could get free tickets.
Ayala struggled mightily over the next few seasons, often blowing key saves and drawing criticism from Mariners fans and the Seattle press On April 24, 1996, he punched out the window of his hotel room at the Westin in Chicago after a reported night of drinking.
Hotel security was called to his room at 6:00 Department of Administration and Management and discovered the broken window.
The injury required nine stitches and he spent the next few months on the disabled list, finishing the season with a 5.88 European Research Area. Fellow reliever Norm Charlton, asked about the incident, said "I don"t know what happened and I don"t want to know."
The Mariners traded him to the Montreal Expos for minor-leaguer Jimmy Turman on April 3, 1999, but Seattle paid all of Ayala"s $1.8 million salary that year. Montreal released him a few months later and he finished the "99 season pitching 16 innings for the Chicago Cubs. The Minnesota Twins signed Ayala as a free agent, making him a non-roster invitee for the 2000 season.
Unimpressed, they released him before the start of the regular season.
He started the regular 2000 season pitching for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, but after starting 1-2 with a 4.61 European Research Area, was released on May 8. On May 18, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers" Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Dukes.
Two months and nine saves later, the Dukes released him. Even years after his career was over, Ayala"s name is still brought up among Seattle baseball fans to make unfavorable comparisons to struggling pitchers.